Design for independent senior living has not seen much demand for now, as there has not been much awareness on such a concept, says Malaysian Institute of Interior Designers (MIID) deputy president Ooi Boon Seong.

“This is because the trend has not begun. We are confident that it will change in the near future. Statistics have shown that the population of the elderly age group is expanding. Once the initiative starts from developers, the trend will emerge,” he says.

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Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) president Datuk Ezumi Harzani Ismail observes that there is awareness of luxury senior living homes among an increasing number of well-educated retirees who are looking for convenience and companionship in a resort-like atmosphere. This group of matured seniors also do not like to burden their children.

He adds that apart from catering to the elderly’s lifestyle needs, the designs have to fulfil the needs of different races and religions, such as whether to provide a surau to a development, which has to be determined at the early stages of planning.

Ooi adds that developers could consider adding F&B outlets that serve healthy meals, clinics, pharmacies, convenience stores, places for exercise and community centres that cater to gatherings. “These additions will encourage a healthy mind and body,” he says.

He also suggests building the retirement villages adjacent to normal residential housings, as he believes that the mix will appeal to our society’s culture that practises filial piety.

This story first appeared in the e-weekly on Jan 15, 2020. You can access back issues here.

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