Penang a preferred retirement destination

Personal touch: A nurse taking a resident’s blood pressure while Ooi looks on. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Penang offers a unique allure as a retirement destination because of the numerous hospitals and a lifestyle that is a blend of yesteryears with modernity.

Universiti Sains Malaysia family medicine specialist Dr Mastura Mohd Sopian said factors contributing to the mushrooming of retirement homes in the Pearl of the Orient are diverse and complicated.

“In my opinion, it is possibly due to personal factors such as health status, disability, economic capabilities and social factors,” she said.

Dr Mastura, who is an expert on non-communicable diseases and palliative care, said the growing ageing population in the country was a major factor as improved healthcare in the country has enabled Malaysians to live longer.

Malaysians can live up to 75 years old on average due to the healthcare and health facilities.

“An ageing society has a unique set of issues and concerns. Seniors should stay active and promote independence and mobility.

“Their children or loved ones who are still strong should provide them with personal care, proper medical attention and nutritional diet,” she said.

Former Health Ministry official and public health expert Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said senior citizens with chronic diseases should be given special medical care.

“If their children cannot care for them but have the financial ability then they should consider retirement or even a daycare centres,” he said.

Penang Retirement Resort (PRR) general manager Ooi Chai Yin said the high demand for retirement homes was not only in Penang but across the country.

“PRR caters to both locals and foreigners, including those residing under the Malaysia My Second Home or MM2H programme,” she said.

Ooi, who is also nursing director of the centre, said the resort opened in May last year and is now 40% occupied.

Beyond permanent living arrangements, she said some dwellers of the home sought post-surgery recovery, rehabilitation or short-term stays to join specialised programmes aimed at improving mental health, and physiotherapy for a variety of conditions and wellness.

For almost RM8,000 a month, residents are housed in 800sq ft suites equipped with a lounge, balcony, dining area and a kitchenette.

A quick check on the Internet lists at least 10 retirement homes in Penang offering varying levels of luxury and services, with equally varying price options.

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Penang , retirement , Senior Citizens


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