Golden Age

Introduction

Department of Statistics Malaysia states that Malaysian population is about 30,097,900. Out of the number, the elderly is estimated at 2.54 million. Elderly women is estimated at 1.34 million and elderly men is estimated at 1.2 million.

Source: Quick Facts KPWKM. (2014).

The long life journey could be considered as challenging. Within this duration, various challenges are encountered. Life experiences become very valuable.

At this stage of life, many aspects should be given due attention to ensure that the remaining life span could be optimized. In short, golden age in this article refers to the elderly or formally known as senior citizen.

Definition

Who is categorized as the senior citizen?

Referring to “World Assembly On Ageing 1982” in Vienna, Austria, Social Welfare Department has defined the elderly as individual ages 60 years and above.

At the age of 60 years, the age of the individual is highly valued and this age deserves to be entitled as golden age.

Phenomena/Latest Trend

United Nations (UN) estimates that Malaysia is expected to be an old country in 2030 when Malaysia’s population aged 60 and above reached 15% of the population in that year.

World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that at present, the elderly is at risk of mental impairment, physical health deterioration and neurological disorder.

Apparently, on January 15 , 2011 our National Elderly Policy and National Plan of Action for the Elderly has been ammended to ensure that the challenges and issues faced by senior citizens at present are addressed.

Why It Happens?

At this timeline, the elderly faces major life events such as retirement, physical ailment and the loss of significant others such as life partner and the peers.

When a person becomes an elderly, there is a decreased in productivity especially in the context of labor market. At this age, for those who used to work will enter the retirement stage. Some who are not working will be using any remaining savings. There are elderly who depend on the compassion of the children, relatives or charitable institutions to cater their needs.

During this period, there is a deterioration in physical aspects as well. Diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and heart attack are common among the elderly in Malaysia. Deterioration in cognitive functions are also possible. Weakening of memory will disrupt daily functioning among the elderly.

As the physical health plummeting, mental health in the elderly are affected as well. WHO has identified the following issues which are likely to be experienced by the elderly:

  • loss of independence
  • loneliness
  • physical and emotional neglect by significant others
  • depression
  • anxiety

The changes in physical and mental capacities experienced by the elderly during this phase are normal in the process of aging.

Suggested Plan of Action

The elderly is encouraged to seek further medical and mental health screening from health professionals on regular basis.

Health professionals will identify suitable medications and psychological therapies if deem necessary.
Psychosocial support is crucial in assisting the elderly to cope well with phase of aging.

2Source:Successful Aging (2015)

References

  1. Demografi Penduduk: Masyarakat Malaysia Yang Pelbagai Kaum. Retrieved November 4, 2015, from http://pmr.penerangan.gov.my/index.php/profil-malaysia/7962-demografi-penduduk.html
  1. KPWKM.Quick Facts KPWKM 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2015, from http://www.kpwkm.gov.my/documents/10156/9169c437-cce2-4d33-95dc-d3eb8aa14dd6
  1. JKM.Perkhidmatan Warga Emas. Retrieved November 4, 2015, from http://www.jkm.gov.my/content.php?pagename=perkhidmatan_warga_emas
  1. WHO.Mental Health and Older Adults. Retrieved November 4, 2015 from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs381/en/
  2. Kiau, Ho Bee. (2014). Masalah kesihatan Pada Warga Emas. Retrieved November 4, 2015, from http://www.myhealth.gov.my/index.php/warga-emas/pendekatan-dari-segi-gejala/masalah-kesakitan-pada-warga-emas
  3. Takamura, J.C. (2001). Older Adults and Mental Health: Issues and Opportunities. Retrieved November 5, 2015 from http://www.globalaging.org/health/us/mental.pdf
Last Reviewed : 2 Mei 2017
Translator : Noor Hafiza binti Abdul Halim                                                                                             
Accreditor : Pn. Ruhana binti Mahmud