As an ageing society, Malaysia is well on its way to having at least 14% of its population aged above 65 years of age by 2044. This is considered to be fast even by global standards. Reports have also highlighted the rise in declining fertility rate and expansion in life expectancy in recent years.
However, more needs to be done to truly ensure the nation’s ageing population can enjoy their senior years without having to worry about their health. After all, impact on health can also have an impact across the healthcare system in the country.
In ensuring the population continues to age healthily, it is important for both the public and private sector to play a crucial role, particularly in implementing preventive care measures nationwide. This would require the promotion of healthy ageing to begin with, establishment of preventive healthcare policies and increase in access to healthcare services among others.
Implementing Effective Measures
Building a healthy ageing population will require policies that focus on the core of promoting healthy aging. To begin with, it’s vital for the government to look into establishing policies that prioritise preventive healthcare for seniors, such as increasing access to screenings, vaccinations and wellness programmes.
Increase in access to healthcare services for seniors can also include the expansion of medical or insurance coverage, increase in funding for community health centers and incentivising healthcare providers to serve seniors.
By increasing funding for preventive healthcare programmes that target seniors, such as fall prevention programmes, nutrition guidance and exercise classes, more ageing communities across the nation can benefit from these accessibility.
This further calls for support in developing age-friendly communities through the promotion of walkability, accessibility and socialisation opportunities for seniors. By taking these steps, the government can help promote preventive healthcare among seniors nationwide, reduce healthcare costs and improve overall health and well-being of older adults.
But how can healthcare and aged-care authorities complement these measures for effectiveness?
Authorities in the industries can work together to develop and implement preventive healthcare programmes that are evidence-based, cost-effective and tailored to the needs of seniors. By coordinating care across healthcare and aged-care settings, authorities can ensure that seniors receive the appropriate preventive healthcare services at the right time, regardless of where they receive care.
On the other hand, industry leaders along with public sector authorities should look into providing extensive training and education for healthcare and aged-care providers on preventive healthcare strategies and best practices for promoting healthy ageing.
Collaboration with community organisations is also highly welcomed through senior centers and religious bodies to promote preventive healthcare and provide health education as well as support services.
Furthermore, the usage of technology will go a long way in implementing effective preventive healthcare measures. This will aid in enhancing access to preventive healthcare services and improve communication and coordination among healthcare and aged-care providers.
In addition to promoting these preventive healthcare measures, the government should also look into promoting lifelong learning and skill development opportunities for seniors to keep them engaged, active and productive. This can be achieved through educational programmes, training courses and apprenticeships.
After all, there should not be a limit imposed when it comes to learning.
Raising Awareness One Step At A Time
Community awareness of preventive healthcare among seniors can vary widely depending on factors such as culture, education level, socioeconomic status and access to healthcare services.
In general, many seniors may not be aware of the importance of preventive healthcare or may not prioritise it due to competing health concerns or lack of access to healthcare services. Furthermore, some seniors may not also have access to information about preventive healthcare due to language barriers, lack of internet access, or limited exposure to health promotion messages.
However, community-based organisations, healthcare providers, and government agencies can play a vital role in increasing awareness of preventive healthcare among seniors through targeted education and outreach programmes.
These programmes can help seniors understand the importance of regular check-ups, screenings and healthy lifestyle behaviours such as exercise and healthy eating. Communicating these measures will also include engagement with community-based organisation, using multiple communication channels, engaging with family members as well as effectively utilising healthcare providers.
Overall, increasing awareness of preventive healthcare among seniors requires a multifaceted approach that can help seniors better understand the importance of preventive healthcare and encourage them to seek regular check-ups, screenings and healthy lifestyle behaviours.
By Dr Jillian Yeoh, Founder of IMM Healthcare