Category Archives: News & Event

Aged Care

Aged Care: Better Late Than Never

The interview with Dr. Carol Yip, CEO of Aged Care Group, was first published on BFM Radio Station on 19 April 2018.

 

 

In the next three years, one in 10 Malaysians will be aged 60 and above.

By 2040, the ratio is projected to be one in five Malaysians, and the country would have already reached ageing nation status.

In light of these facts we take a look at the ‘aged care’ industry in Malaysia and the cost involved in growing old and taking care of oneself.

Presented by: Brian Fernandez, Tan Chung Han

ACG collaborates with RTI International

Aged Care Group & RTI International Work Towards Better Standards For Aged Care Practices In Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, 22nd March 2018: In a joint initiative to enhance best practices and standards for the aged care industry in Malaysia, Aged Care Group (ACG) and RTI International signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Thursday, 22nd March 2018, officialising the collaboration.

In light of the recent Private Aged Healthcare Facilities and Services Bill passed on 29th November 2017, the collaboration will see RTI International drawing from its 60 years of global experience to provide strategic and technical input on better standards in aged care practices.

RTI is a global independent, research and advisory institute dedicated to improving the human condition and turning knowledge into practice with more than 5,000 staff working in over 80 countries worldwide. RTI has technical domain expertise in more than 250 scientific, economic, technical, and professional disciplines. RTI Malaysia focuses in two practice areas – Innovation Ecosystems and Healthcare Delivery.

Alongside RTI International, ACG will be the private sector collaborator in the endeavour to elevate Malaysia’s aged care industry to international standards.

Spearheading the collaboration’s activities are Shafenaz Farouk – Managing Director of RTI Malaysia, Dr. Chua Hong Teck – Senior Advisor at RTI Malaysia, and Professor Zhanlian Feng – senior research analyst in RTI International’s Aging, Disability, and Long-Term Care programme, together with ACG’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Carol Yip.

In view of the collaboration’s objectives, the respective parties are looking forward to working with business stakeholders, regulators, ministries and other international bodies to develop new standards in aged care for the benefit of all Malaysians.

Market Bulls

Market Bulls Still Charging

KUALA LUMPUR: Market bulls are expected to continue their charge, with the rising US inflation rate just a “tiny bear” that does not pose a big risk to the global markets as yet. Amidst all these, there are investment opportunities available, said speakers at the inaugural Eastspring Public Symposium 2018 titled “Crouching Bears, Charging Bulls” in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday.

Robert Rountree, global strategist at Eastspring Investment (Singapore) Ltd kicked off the forum with his session “Crouching Bears, Charging Bulls: Market Drivers in 2018”, saying that the rising US inflation rate does not pose a big risk yet because commodity prices remain relatively low and the US job market, while in full employment, might not see a strong rise in consumer spending and inflation moving forward.

“Many of these jobs created are for aged 65-years-old and above. The salary for these jobs are low and the people of this age group do not spend a lot. It’s [inflation risk] just a ‘tiny bear’.”

He said the global economy continues to expand while company earnings are on the rise.

“This is supported by ample market liquidity as central banks globally are still injecting money into the market, even though they are raising rates and tightening monetary policies,” he said.

Rountree pointed out that market mispricing presents investment opportunities for investors to bargain hunt. These opportunities exist within the Asian ex-Japan equity market.

Within the region, he said the infrastructure, healthcare and consumer goods sector are undervalued at the moment.

He also added that the China A-shares and Hong Kong H-shares are relatively cheap while the US and European equities are overpriced.

Ooi Boon Peng, chief investment officer of Eastspring Investments (Singapore) Ltd in charge of fixed income, in his session “Rising yields, rising income: 2018 fixed income outlook” also said that US inflation is expected to remain benign as wage growth is unlikely to see a sharp rise.

He said the majority of jobs created for the older age group is comparable to the situation in Japan, where it has an unemployment rate of below 2.5% and a wage growth of less than 0.5%.

In addition, Ooi said that the more widespread adoption of internet and technology and the emergence of new ones (such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and robotics) are other factors that cause the US inflation rate to remain low.

At the same time, Ooi said capital expenditure and consumer sentiments in many countries are on the rise, which shows that the global economy continues to recover.

He said opportunities for fixed income remain in the emerging markets (EM), where markets are volatile but provide good yields. “We are tactically overweight on Latin America, generally positive on Brazil’s local bonds. In Asia, we have been bullish on Indonesia and India’s fixed income performance. India is our main overweight due to the reforms that the country is currently undertaking.”

He added that India’s government has taken a lot of steps to become a more formal economy. These steps include demonetisation to curb black money, introducing the goods and services tax and financial inclusion programmes.

Chen Fan Fai, Eastspring Investment Bhd chief investment officer for retail and institutional business took the stage for the third session, titled “Diversification benefits of absolute return strategies”. He said investors who want to reduce volatility in their overall investment portfolio could allocate part of their money in absolute return funds.

Chen said these funds utilised different investment strategies and derivative products to reduce volatility in achieving targeted returns. These funds are also less correlated with market indexes as compared to most of the existing unit trust funds in the market.

“More than half of all unit trust funds have a correlation with the market of greater than 75%, whereas half of all absolute return strategies [funds] have a correlation with the market of less than 25%. It provides investors with diversification.”

Chen said while there are not many absolute return funds locally, he expected to see more being offered in the market if there is investor demand.

During the panel discussion where one of the topics was whether local investors have enough choices available in unit trust investments as compared to others in the region, Wong Weiyi, general manager of Fundsupermart Malaysia, said there are over 400 unit trust funds available in Malaysia.

“In comparison, Singapore has about 1,200 products while Hong Kong has about 1,800,” he said.

However, Wong said the local fixed deposit rates ranged from 3% to 4%, which is much higher than those in Singapore of about 1%. The higher rates would make fixed deposits a relatively ideal place for investors to park some of their money, while placing the rest of their money into existing unit trust funds in the market.

He said this is unlike Singapore, where investors would need a wider variety of unit trust funds to structure their investment portfolios to chase for higher returns. “As such, 400 over products should be able to cater to local demand. Nevertheless, there will be more products coming into the market in the future.”

On planning for retirement, Carol Yip, CEO of Aged-Care Group Sdn Bhd, said investors who are planning to stay in an aged care home should be disciplined in taking profits and set aside some cash for the future.

She said the amount of money one needed for an aged care home for five years is about RM250,000 at the current market price. Taking into account the effect of inflation, it could go up to RM500,000. “If you were to stay in a hotel-style aged-care facility, it’s easily a million. Set aside money for that. You need cash,” she said.

 


 

Source: The Edge

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on 12 March 2018.

PHOTO by Shahrin Yahya: (From left) BFM business radio station producer and presenter Melisa Idris moderating in the inaugural Eastspring Public Symposium discussion involving Yip, Ooi, Rountree, Wong and Chen in Kuala Lumpur.

Healthy Ageing in ViTa Facility

Healthy Ageing: Turning Conviction In Care Into Reality

Aged Care Group (ACG) achieved a new milestone with ACH Group – Australia’s leading aged care organisation – to provide innovative care for diverse markets and healthy ageing.

In conjunction with the collaboration, the ACG team had an opportunity to tour some of their aged care facilities. In an interview regarding their experience, members of the visiting team shared aspects of ACH Group’s care delivery that were adaptable in Malaysia and unique to them individually.

Branding Aged Care Articulately – Reeca Lim

For Reeca Lim, ACG’s marketing professional who conceptualises design and development, the tour was a chance to study the success model of care in a developed country, how it articulates their delivery of care and the distinctive approaches in cultivating aged care branding and prominence, as well as its impact on people.

The brand isn’t just about the building, it is about the continuous endeavours in developing and improving a comprehensive innovation framework (from software to hardware) and ensuring the message is effectively relayed to the public. This garners their stakeholders’ involvement to create changes that add value to the ecosystem.

What stood out was how aged care is expressed and communicated to people. There is a dedication to the philosophy of healthy ageing and that care comes first, which is deeply internalised within the organisation from the grass roots to top management.

That philosophy; conveyed via service design and product innovation that is supported with evidence-based research is the pillar to success.

Care Is About People – Paramjit & Tze Lin

Malaysia’s approach in healthcare has typically revolved around being illness-centric, but there is a paradigm shift of living better and not just longer. Nurse Manager, Paramjit Kaur stated that the approach in aged care has to focus on restoration, rehabilitation and supports healthy aging.

According to her, the best practices revolve around a person’s right to make choices for themselves. While healthcare providers give support by providing the necessary services, there must also be an emphasise on the care recipients’ participation to put effort into being healthy.

At ACH, residents are encouraged to view ageing as a journey, not a destination. This cultivates a mindset to be healthier and as independent as possible which is reflective in their involvement in social activities etc.

Additionally, the homes didn’t seem institutionalised. There are signs of the personal touch everywhere in the way the rooms were done up. No two rooms are the same and there is a homely atmosphere all around. The residents are well dressed and groomed, and had varying meal times to suit their needs.

This practice emphasises the care recipient’s restoration, not institutionalising them.

Registered nurse and care administrator, Tze Lin echoed her agreement with this sentiment, stating that parties who are interested in the aged care business need to perceive the elderly as unique individuals with their own goals in life – not as statistics – and then provide the conditions that will allow them to maintain their dignity.

Is important to embed such a culture in your team and organisation as it will be reflected in the service provided and the care that people receive. For example, developers need to be mindful when designing the space and layout of a facility centre. If you’re building a facility for dementia patients, space needs to be taken into consideration as dementia patients value space.

She also stated that inter-professional learning – between medical and non-medical disciplines – need to be cultivated to ensure there is a continuity or integration of care. This would also lead to aged care offerings that are disruptive to the norm, spurring innovative solutions that improves the quality of care for the elderly.

Adapting Operational Practices & Culture Specific Care – Derrick Chan

Quality standards are fundamental in the provision of service. Having shadowed and observed the day-to-day operations in a residential aged care facility, Derrick Chan – who conducts Research & Development in aged care affairs – stated that some of ACH’s standard operating procedures could be adapted in local practices.

This includes activity planning, meal preparation, care provision, health and safety, equipment usage, front and back office management, staff planning and so on.

The similarity in what ACH practices and what we want to achieve overlaps in terms of the services, procedures and the administration required to ease a care recipient’s transition from the home to an aged care facility. For example, the utilisation of financial planners and downsizing consultants.

Another aspect of ACH’s endeavours that struck a chord with Derrick was the provision of care to diverse cultures and how talents are developed to ensure sustainable human resource.

There were programmes created as part of the good practice in aged care. For example, ACH Group has cultural-specific programmes that engages groups of participants from varied cultures to promote diversity in aged care, such as the Cambodian and Muslim community programmes. I believe this is relevant to Malaysia’s cultural experiences.

There are also tailored programmes designed to equip staff and volunteers from across the organisation with skills and specialised knowledge to carry out their duties. ACH Group has a Dementia learning programme which trains providers to enable people living with dementia to live a good life.

Moving forward in Malaysia, a dementia specialist advisory service can be setup as there is a lack of expertise and services in this area.”

Melinda U: Conviction In Care, Not Convenience

Given the similarities of the care delivery models and practices, General Manager of Managedcare Sdn Bhd, Melinda U shared her interest in understanding how ACH Group has come to refined their model over the course of their 65-year experience.

Similar to Managedcare has done, ACH Group has made partnerships with universities for initiatives such as their ViTA project. I wanted to know in detail what did these partnerships entail, what is the business model and what were each party’s role in it. I also wanted to know the operational details of running an aged care facility on a day-to-day basis, what went well and what pitfalls to avoid. So when we operate our own facility, we’ll know how to do it right.

She further stated that the basis for any operational designs and their subsequent modifications comes down to embodying the concept of person-centred care.

For example, ACH assists people to retain their previous lifestyle and take steps – such as providing transport – to achieve it. They don’t turn life upside down just because its more convenient. Operations flow according to the care receiver’s rhythm.

There are challenges for organisations and businesses to balance operational and cost efficiency, but it can be done while maintaining sustainability. So for us it’s important that no matter how we balance these factors, we must stay true to what we believe in and keep our priority in line with our beliefs.”

In conclusion, we can look forward to the outcomes of this partnership as the synergy between the ACG and ACH Group’s care model and practices will open Malaysians to new possibilities of quality care.

Bill, Eyeglasses & Policy

Bill To Regulate Nursing Homes Tabled In Parliament

The Private Aged Healthcare Facilities and Services Bill 2017 was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday.

The Bill was tabled by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam for its first reading, and is expected to be passed during the current Parliament meeting, which ends on Nov 30.

Once the Bill is passed, centres caring for four or more persons above 60 years old must obtain an operating licence from the ministry’s director-general.

Consideration for approval will be given to matters such as the centre’s premises and the types of services offered.

An operating license is valid for a three-year period from the date of approval and cannot be assigned or transferred unless approved by the director-general.

The centre operators must also ensure that their staff are trained in basic life support.

The proposed law also prescribes that centres or facilities must provide a policy statement to a care recipient upon admission.

This includes providing a grievance mechanism to allow care recipients, their relatives or any person acting on their behalf to lodge a complaint.

Centres for the aged will be subject to inspection by two officers appointed by the director-general to ensure compliance of regulations.

The ministry’s director-general has the power suspend or revoke the licence of a centre, or order its closure.

A centre operator may voluntarily close the centre or facility, but must give three months’ notice to the health ministry’s director-general, which includes a report on the status of accommodation of care recipients.

The centre can also receive care recipients who are below 60 if it complies with the Care Centres Act 1993.

Failure to comply with the law could see offenders liable to fines ranging between RM5,000 and RM30,000.

The proposed law does not cover those providing care to their aged relatives, care centres or private healthcare facilities.

 

This article first appeared in The Star, on 23rd October 2017.

Retirement Planning

Retirement Planning: ‘Malaysians Need A Wake-up Call’

The rosy picture of a comfortable retirement is becoming a distant dream for many Malaysians due to factors such as longevity risk and a growing ageing population. Still, many do not realise the importance of planning for the various phases of their golden years and their long-term care needs, as well as how to effectively protect their estate when doing so.

This happens because many view retirement as a destination rather than a journey, says Kenanga Investors Bhd CEO Ismitz

Matthew De Alwis. According to him, Malaysians sorely need a wake-up call to understand that retirement is a whole life chapter that needs careful planning and consideration.

“Retirement is the next great journey in life, and can even be broken into three main phases,” says De Alwis. “The first is when you are newly retired and are excited to go on holidays and try out new hobbies.

“The second phase is when your body starts to slow down and requires more attention. The third phase kicks in when you are in need of constant supervision or long-term care. Each phase demands a certain amount of financial commitment and will eventually take a toll on your retirement funds.”

The biggest challenge in planning for your golden years is the risk of not having enough savings to ensure a sustainable retirement. According to De Alwis, three out of four Malaysians will not have enough funds when they retire as most of them are depending on their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings and are not aware of the multitude of issues that can arise during their retirement.

Citing a survey by University of Malaya’s Social Security Research Centre, De Alwis says at least two-thirds of EPF members aged 54 this year have less than RM50,000 in their accounts. “With the household poverty line at a monthly income of RM930 (according to the 11th Malaysia Plan, 2016 to 2020), that RM50,000 will only last 4½ years. This amount is not sufficient to support most people’s lifestyles well into their old age without any form of passive income after retirement,” he points out.

“Already, we have challenges such as longer average life spans. The life expectancy of Malaysians has increased by at least 25 years for both men and women between 1950 and 2015. By 2030, 14% of the population will be aged 60 and above, according to the EPF’s Annual Report 2016.”

The country is becoming an ageing society. An impending challenge that is slowly creeping up on Malaysians is the issue of a declining birth rate in recent years, says De Alwis. According to Vital Statistics, Malaysia, 2017 (released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia on Oct 31), the fertility rate per female aged 15 to 49 was 1.9 babies last year — the lowest ever recorded in the country. In 2015, the fertility rate was 2.0.

“The fertility rate in Malaysia has been below the replacement level of 2.1 — the average number of babies born per female. This has actually been an issue for countries such as Japan and Singapore for many years now, but we have yet to fully experience the negative impact of this. Ultimately, this causes a ‘top-heavy’ effect on the population pyramid — a narrowing base of young people to provide and care for a bulging older segment even as they try to form families of their own,” says De Alwis.

Another looming challenge in retirement planning is a lack of understanding and education on the concept of long-term care and what it actually entails, says Dr Carol Yip, CEO of Aged Care Group Sdn Bhd. In Malaysia, most people refer to long-term care as medical care and equip themselves with medical insurance to cover any large, unexpected medical treatments and hospitalisation costs.

However, long-term care includes services that assist individuals with their medical and non-medical needs during chronic illnesses or disabilities, who may not be able to care for themselves over an extended period.

According to Yip, long-term care in the country is offered by government welfare homes, private nursing homes, private care centres, voluntary aged care organisations and charitable centres. Despite the commendable industry growth, little is known about the type or standard of care provided by these public, private and voluntary facilities.

“We have many care centres operating across Malaysia. However, there is a huge chasm between the licensed and unlicensed providers as the latter far outnumber the former,” says Yip.

“This gap has resulted in the centres applying varying degrees of care. If care standards are not streamlined and standardised, it will pose many social and economic problems for Malaysia.”

These centres are currently regulated under the Care Centre Act and the Private Facilities & Services Act, she adds. However, their scope in terms of ageing and long-term care needs is too general and vague.

“Hence, we need structural reforms in the policies set in place, education [of long-term care services] and how we address specific long-term care needs. That is why we are looking forward to the Private Aged Healthcare Facilities and Services Bill, which is currently being tabled in Parliament, and how it will impact our healthcare policies and long-term care options,” says Yip.

In retirement planning, it is not enough for Malaysians to ensure that they are able to generate wealth. They also need to preserve it so it can be passed on to the next generation. To do this, they will need to have well-crafted, regularly updated estate planning documents, regardless of the size of their assets.

According to Farah Deba Mohamed Sofian, partner at Wong Lu Peen & Tunku Alina Advocates & Solicitors, proper estate planning prevents arguments between heirs, reduces the complexity of the claim process, lowers the likelihood of having to deal with the heavy debts of the deceased and ensures that the assets are inherited by the right heirs.

However, it can be challenging to draw up a proper estate plan as there are many things Malaysians should bear in mind before and while doing it. According to Farah Deba, some of the things they should consider before drawing up estate-planning documents include preparing a list of assets and liabilities (complete with points of reference and contact details), setting aside allowances for the executors and properly informing the executors that they have been appointed.

“If your intention is to appoint an individual as your executor, do approach the person to seek his agreement to be appointed as your executor. This means you must be willing to tell him your plans and secrets. If you do not do this, it can get messy,” she says.

“For example, if there is a third-party claimant who suddenly appears and says that he is entitled to part of the wealth, the executor may not know how to handle it. These kinds of disputes mean you will not be able to preserve your wealth because it cannot even be passed on. Thus, the best practice is to be frank with the executor about sensitive family issues that he should take note of.”

These challenges and other topics such as the market outlook for 2018 and what they mean for your investment strategy will be discussed at The Edge-Kenanga Retirement Forum titled “The Coming Third Age Crisis”. It will take place at Setia International Centre in KL Eco City on Nov 18.

 


 

Source: The Edge, 22 November 2017

This article first appeared in Personal Wealth, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on November 13, 2017 – November 19, 2017.

ACH Group Vision Of Providing Care To Diverse Markets

ACH Group sign MOU with Malaysian company, Aged Care Group, to deliver an innovative care model

ACH Group and Malaysian care provider, Aged Care Group (ACG), signed a Memorandum of Understanding to officialise a joint initiative to provide better care in both Australia and Malaysia.

The MOU affirms that ACH Group and ACG will work together to share knowledge of each other’s countries and experiences to better provide care to older people.

The signing of the MOU was witnessed by the Honourable Zoe Bettison, Minister for Ageing, recognising the Office for the Ageing played an important role in developing Age of Opportunity: A Policy Framework for the Development of the Ageing Well Industry in South Australia, which was launched in August. This policy sets a framework for cross government, industry and community collaboration to support business growth and innovation throughout the Ageing Well industry in South Australia.

The new agreement will bring together both organisations and provide ACH Group the opportunity to learn and develop tools such as how to provide care to different populations in a multicultural society.

“We have many things to learn about providing care for such a diverse market place,” said ACH Group CEO Ray Creen, “Australia is one of the most ethnically diverse societies in the world today and as an aged care provider, we need to continue to learn how to cater for such an extremely broad market, something that ACG does in Malaysia so well.”

As well as diversity in the market place, ACH Group hopes to learn about ACG’s advanced use of technology to develop their already strong community-based care model. A model which involves community, public and private sectors.

“ACH Group’s integrated continuum of care is made up of a comprehensive array of health services,” Creen said, “developing this even further and combining it with a progressive use of technology will mean South Australia’s aged care sector is a leader for the Nation.”

The bilateral relationship between South Australia and Malaysia will elevate and introduce a care model of international standards to the state.

ACG & ACH Group Signing Ceremony

Aged Care Group signs MoU with ACH Group, South Australia to Deliver an Innovative Care Model in Malaysia

From Left To Right: Dr. Carol Yip, CEO of Aged Care Group Sdn Bhd, with Zoe Bettison, South Australia’s Minister of Ageing, and Geoff Holdich, Chairman of ACH Board of Trustees.

 

South Australia, 16th October 2017: Aged Care Group (ACG) and ACH Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding to officialise a joint initiative to offer high standards of care to senior residents living in Malaysia.

The signing of the MOU was witnessed by the Honourable Zoe Bettison, Minister for Ageing, recognising the Office for the Ageing played an important role in developing Age of Opportunity: A Policy Framework for the Development of the Ageing Well Industry in South Australia. The MOU affirms ACH Group – one of Australia’s largest aged care organisations with over 65 years of practice, 2,000 staff across 50 locations both South Australia and Victoria – would lend ACG their experience and knowledge in developing senior living housing and aged care facilities.

This joint initiative will bring both parties to work together in delivering new opportunities for older people in Malaysia by adapting ACH Group’s proven smart partnership such as ViTA with SA Health and Flinders University, enabling us to markedly improve health and lifestyle outcomes for Malaysia’s ageing population.

The collaboration will see ACH Group participating in some of ACG’s projects to develop a care model of elder care services which meets Malaysians’ culture and diversity. ACG’s know-how of the local environment coupled with ACH Group’s years of expertise would be incumbent to the development of an integrated continuum of care framework for Malaysians drawn upon a strong community-based care model which involves the community, public and private sectors.

As ACH Group – a strong advocate of diversity in their business of care, this innovative model of care would support culturally and linguistically diverse communities and their needs for aged care in sync with Malaysia, truly a melting pot that is Asia.

Framed under existing local regulations, this bilateral relationship between South Australia and Malaysia will elevate and introduce a care model of international standards. At the same time, leveraging on ACH Group’s elder care service experience to give comprehensive guidance, coordination, cooperation and support in terms of policy update, administrative procedures and operating standards amongst others.

The successful implementation of a financially sustainable care model for Malaysians is expected to become a significant formula for more potential projects that the two organisations would embark on in Malaysia.

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