theborneopost – By Lee Ya Yun
KUCHING: Care for the elderly in our family, an approach Kuching City South Council (MBKS) mayor James Chan strongly believes should be continued to be practised.
He also urged extending the care to elderly in other families in the community.
He said this at the opening of Empowering the Elderly Forum at MBKS auditorium here yesterday.
He stressed that such model which has worked well in most of the Asian countries should be continued as it would not only help to reduce the demand on institutional care but also enhance the dignity of the elderly.
However, he has cautioned that such value is being gradually eroded with modernization.
“There will be a growing demand for care of the aged. We need to inculcate in our younger generation the Asian value of respect for the aged and the human values of appreciation and compassion.
“Only with these can we truly say that we have come of age as a civilized society.
“Only then can the human species truly stand above all others,” he said.
Chan said adults should lead by example by taking care of their own parents and the elderly in the society as practicing what one preaches is the most persuasive way in educating the young.
The country is expected to have 3.4 million senior citizens by 2020, said the mayor, adding that the council is therefore looking seriously to address the various needs with the growing numbers of elderly.
“Starting three years ago, planning for the ageing population has been one of the priorities of my city council. My objective is to enable the elderly to remain healthy and active, as well to stay in the family and in the community, for as long as possible.
“If our families as institutions remain strong and the spirit of mutual help among neighbours remains vibrant, the best arrangement would be for our elderly to stay with their families. My council has been putting in place healthy city activities that empower the elderly to care for themselves and empower the families and communities to help care for the elderly,” Chan said.
The two-day forum is jointly organized by MBKS, Malaysian Healthy Ageing Society (MHAS) and TENA Incontinence Care Solution.
Held in conjunction with the Kuching Festival 2011, it is designed to help participants to gain a better understanding of the psychological and physiological aspects for the elderly through lectures, workshops and activities.
MHAS president Associate Professor Nathan Vytialingam said Malaysia is moving into an ageing nation where by 2020, 10 per cent of the country’s population would be the elderly.
He pointed out that MHAS as the non-profit organization would continue their mission to educate members of the public, physicians and scientists on healthy ageing issues.