Supporting cancer survivors

“CANCER is a lifelong disease, and survivorship doesn’t involve you alone. Survivorship involves the people around you and the community as well,” said Dr Saunthari Somasundaram, president of the National Cancer Society Malaysia.

She was speaking earlier this month at a seminar organised to commemorate National Cancer Survivors Day. The seminar, held at the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia, was themed “Thumbs-Up for Cancer Survivorship”.

The speakers included author Datuk Bridget Menezes, oncologist Dr Martin Mellor, dietitian Nur Hafizah Mahamad Sobri, Head of Sport Medicine Department from University Malaya Medical Centre Dr Mohd Nahar and Carol Yip, Aged Care Group chief executive officer.

The event also had workshops such as juicing and laughter yoga, which can help survivors live richer and healthier lives.

In her “Live the Life You Imagined” presentation, Yip provided insight into managing finances for aged care needs.

“Although I survived cancer, moving forward, how do I plan for the future?” asked Yip.

“If anything happens to me, I know I have the money to pay for any care I may need and probably for my family, too.”

She pointed out that as Malaysia is not a social welfare country, its citizens need to save up for retirement.

“Whether you are a cancer survivor or not, you need to re-look at how much money you put aside to pay for your needs when you age. Some of us try to hang on to our investments as long as we can. However, by the time we want to sell our investments for money, we could already be suffering from dementia.

“In life, most of us do not know how to manage our money until we face an emergency. As the government does not have sufficient funding to help the ageing population, what we can do is to work out our own financial planning. Making a plan is easy but the difficulty lies in its execution.”

She stated that money is a personal matter that you may not want to reveal to others, but when healthcare is needed, money becomes a major concern.

“Age is accompanied by high care, because the level of care a person requires increases as they age. That’s the reason why home care services are an option to allow people to age and live independently with support. At Aged Care Group, there are nurses who can help you ascertain the best level of care you require.”

According to Yip, the best investment for your golden years is your healthcare.

“Cancer survivors, caregivers, and family members should work together as a team to plan ahead for the survivor’s aged care. Discuss with your lawyer about your property and money to avoid them becoming unclaimed assets. Create a trust with clear instructions while you are still of sound mind and appoint your guardian and care administrator. Write down your wishes and directives to inform your family what they need to do regarding your welfare in the event that you are unable to carry them out yourself,” she said.

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