Malaysia to be ageing nation by 2035

FACT: Health in old age determined by clean living when young, says Rosmah

KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYSIA is expected  to attain Ageing Nation Status by 2035 with an increase in life expectancy due to better healthcare and improved standards of living.

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor speaking to S. Saumya and her friends, Ahmad Zuldadzli Norizham and Bijou Rai (right), at the First World Congress on Healthy Ageing 2012 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Pic by Nik Rosli Ishak

It is, therefore, important to teach children about healthy ageing because health in old age is determined by healthy living when young, said Permata Negara Early Childhood Education and Care Programme policy executive committee chairman Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

She said children were “our most invaluable assets and our investment in them was our investment in the future of the nation.

“The youth are now heavily involved in activities such as risky road races, excessive drinking and use of drugs, which not only harms society but also their own health in the long run”.

Rosmah said it was the task of parents, family members and leaders to influence the people closest to them to observe a healthy lifestyle from an early age.

“Children who receive unconditional love and adequate attention will grow up to be balanced individuals physically, emotionally and spiritually,” she said when opening the First World Congress on Healthy Ageing 2012 here yesterday.

An ageing nation is one where 15 per cent or more of the country’s population are aged 60 and above.

Globally, the United Nations has projected the number of persons older than 60 to reach two billion by 2050 from 606 million today, which is a three fold increase, and people over 80 to increase five-fold.

Rosmah said growth in global ageing had forced countries to develop correct policies and practices and this was a new phenomenon.

“We are forecasting more middle-aged adults in our population in the next 20 years,” she said, adding that ageing shouldn’t be seen negatively.

“We need to move away from the notion of ill health, wrinkles and loneliness when we talk about ageng.”

Rosmah said the Permata centres were designed to provide opportunities for children from rural areas below the age of 5 and disadvantaged children in semi-urban areas. In five years, the number of Permata centres has grown to 600. The programme has been validated in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Rosmah said Permata centres had always emphasised that every child in the centre should have a health card with health screening twice a year for early detection of illness.

The four-day congress will see 187 speakers discussing world health issues and there will be more than 120 hours of lectures, workshops, forums and seminars.

The congress themed, Evolution: Holistic Ageing in an Age of Change will be attended by 977 participants from 39 countries.

Some of the major issues to be discussed are promoting healthy ageing, stress management, fitness and ageing, elderly care, financial management in elderly care and the psychology of ageing.

The congress will also discuss preventive measures in relation to healthy ageing.

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