2050: 24% of Malaysians are 65 and above. (Including me!)

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When I am retired, I hope to travel more often. Not so much of travelling the world because it may be too expensive for me but perhaps travelling between some cities or towns which I like, within Malaysia. Taking my own sweet time in visiting places I have never been and continue to be active even as I indulge in all the food I love. Hopefully, I will be healthy enough to do so too. Well, by the year 2050, 24 percent of all Malaysians would be 65 years old and above. That includes me. There was an article in TheStar which talks a bit about retirement homes. By 2020, Malaysians 65 years old and above would already comprise 10 percent of the total population. It would rise to 15.3 percent by 2030. That’s 4.9 million people and that’s when Malaysia becomes an ageing nation. 

What will happen is that between now and then, there would be new focus on providing for the needs of these senior citizens. One of the thing they need? Company, as in friends and people to talk to and even people to care for them. Not many people love to live alone. Okay, perhaps some people love to be left alone but even these people needs care. When they are old for example, having some people to check on them. When they are sick, having medical attention nearby. When they want to do some cooking for example, a small mini-market nearby perhaps. In fact perhaps one facility for these seniors could also include a movie cinema. It does not need to be the most advanced lah.

According to an announcement by the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry, it is now drafting a Physical Planning Guidelines for the Elderly. The guidelines include the focus on site planning, building design and provision of facilities in three types of settlements for the elderly, namely, new housing construction and retrofitting of existing homes, senior care centres and retirement villages. This will include elderly friendly elements such as height levels of electrical switches and windows for wheelchair users, as well as pedestrian crossings with sufficient walking time. Actually, there are already some developers which are moving into retirement villages. However, I think more would be going into it on a larger scale as part of its integrated development. Real Estate And Housing Developers’ Association patron and immediate former president Datuk Seri Michael Yam said many big developers have been planning to include retirement homes as one of the components in their large mixed developments. Full article in TheStar here. 

I always wonder how fit would I be when I reach 65 years old. Hopefully I could still join those fun runs even if I could not complete marathons like I could today. As for retirement homes, at this moment I do not think I would need one but the market for these would be huge. It would definitely be clever for developers to mix this into their mixed developments instead of building just the retirement homes. Perhaps a bit more promotion is needed for Malaysians to understand why a retirement village is different from just another typical residential project. Happy focusing on opportunities that would come with an ageing population.

written on 14 July 2017

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