What Should Happen to the Future Accommodation of the Elderly in Malaysia?

Mohd Yusof, Yusnani (2005). What Should Happen to the Future Accommodation of the Elderly in Malaysia? PhD Thesis, School of Geography, Planning and Architecture, University of Queensland.

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Author Mohd Yusof, Yusnani
Thesis Title What Should Happen to the Future Accommodation of the Elderly in Malaysia?
School, Centre or Institute School of Geography, Planning and Architecture
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2005
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr. David Wadley
Abstract/Summary Malaysia’s export-oriented economy has developed rapidly from one based on agriculture to one that is supported by manufacturing, high tech industry and tourism. As a result of this modernization, living standards and behavioral patterns of the population are changing. This increase in living standards has demographic implications such as a decrease in fertility levels, increase in longevity and reductions in average household size. As a consequence of these changes, a rapid increase in number of elderly (people over 60 years of age) is predicted over the next 20 years. Traditionally the elderly in Malaysia lived as an extended family with their children, mainly in the rural areas. However as urbanization is growing, the young are moving to cities, leaving the elderly in a dilemma of whether to move with their children or to stay in their traditional rural environment. This situation raises the key research question – what should happen to the future housingaccommodation of the elderly in Malaysia? Considering five main UN principles, that the elderly persons should be entitled to independence, participation, care, self-fulfillment and dignity, there is an evident potential for research targeting future accommodation for elderly in Malaysia. To establish the proportions of the research question, several key operational definitions are essential. They include those of the concepts of elderly persons, individual and population aging, aging indicators, dependency, social welfare, housing, cultural values and policy responses. To assess adequately the current conditions in Malaysia and to construct a model that could become the benchmark for accommodation for the elderly, a comprehensive literature review was conducted on current conceptual models of well-being. The search uncovered five major models; The Three-Pillar Retirement Income Model, The Social Model of Welfare, The Care Model, The Williams Ring Model and the Model of Housing. In addition, key insights from other societies were forwarded in order to understand the progress made in addressing issues in ageing, income, welfare, health, housing and service. The specific concept of culturalvalues which are pervasive in the multi-ethnic Malaysian population which includes Malays, Chinese and Bidayuh are analyzed in view of the link of the cultural-values dimensions with an overall housing-accommodation system. The newly developed Culturally Modified Housing-Accommodation Model (CMHAM) can become a tool for decision-makers and policy planners to catalogue housing preferences, and subsequently identify choices in housingaccommodation and features of the social environment most suitable for the elderly population. The elderly individual and members of the family can gauge their preparedness in accommodation needs in the face of the imminent demands of old age. Considering the application of the CMHAM in Malaysia, seven general assumptions were identified covering dimensions such as cultural values, the housing accommodation system, physical planning and policy responses. The architecture and content of the model were laid out. A stimulus-response approach in the motivation and operation of the CMHAM and an adapt-modifymove approach in decision making were employed. In the final stages of this study, a survey questionnaire testing the newly developed model was carried out on a sample of elderly Malaysians in a rural setting in Tebakang and an urban setting in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. With the rural elderly population, the cultural values are immediately challenged. The basic difference is that whereas in urban areas elderly persons are integrated into a more fluid and eclectic urban environment, in rural areas elderly persons have an intimate relation with the traditional community around them. The type of accommodation in urban areas reflects a need for diverse design options and planning. But in the rural areas, cultural values demand a high degree of visual inclusiveness; the accommodation arrangements rely on barrier-free movement and ease in flow of interaction among members of the family and the community. Strategies in accommodation of the elderly, therefore, deal with ageing as a consciously planned process from both the private and public points of view, not something haphazard and incremental. The process should retain people’s core beliefs and traditional cultural values, but with sufficient flexibility to incorporate changes along the way, and to the extent that resources permit, the process should feature ownership and guidance by the elderly individual and local community. Ageing in place can be validated as a desired and general modus operandi but will need augmentation by developments on the home to institution interface. Hence, results of this project are aimed at policy makers and the elderly individual and family to ensure preparedness in accommodation needs in old age.

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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 16:38:05 EST