THE aging population is on an upward trend. These days many are capitalising on this business of running nursing homes and selling care-giving.
Predominantly these private enterprises are relying on Filipino and Sri Lankan foreign workers to manage the care-giving.
As more children of small families grow up and start their working careers, the aged have to resort to these privately run homes for care and solace.
Many of these privately run homes for the elderly are of inconsistent quality and they do not come cheap.
Despite the Health Ministry requiring such businesses to be registered with them, let us face the facts of exploitation, neglect and over pricing squarely.
It is time that the government stopped relying on the free market enterprise to provide for the growing need of caring for the aged.
There is a critical need for politicians to put on their thinking caps to come up with a long term, reliable, inexpensive and meaningful care provisions for the elderly.
Perhaps it is right to demand that the government also consider developing facilities like a well-planned mini-taman which can provide a holistic environment for the aging to retire, live and enjoy their vintage with affordability.
A well-planned initiative like this can even enable the aging to remain inspired and resourceful given their qualifications, experiences as well as indulging in lucrative hobbies including cash crop cultivation.
For all the long years of having paid their taxes and having contributed to the building of our nation, must we also squeeze the elderly till their graves with privatised, expensive care-giving that are far from being humanely meaningful?
The government spends millions of ringgit to preserve our depleting forests and wildlife; makes huge profits from foreign and local investments; drives the nation with all kinds of infrastructure development plans.
Why can’t we expect the same government to return to our aging citizens proper residential options with facilities, parks and 24-hour medical support at affordable rates?
A caring government must also consider subsidising such developments by converting government land into special tamans for the elderly.
Let the media initiate a public discourse on this growing but long neglected need.
Politicians have a moral duty and obligation to address care-giving and providing housing for the elderly.
Elder care must become a national agenda.
J. D. Lovrenciear