It has been proudly announced that Malaysia is one of the top 5 retirement destinations in the world, in a research done by International Living. Based on the Annual Global Retirement Index for the year 2014, Malaysia ranks amongst Ecuador, Mexico and Panama as the top retirement country of choice, while according to The Sun Daily of New York, Malaysia is the only Asian country in the top 5 of the list, as countries such as Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam which were also in the list ranked far behind.
As voted by expats from first world countries, Malaysia offers not just a mild climate but also the best “bang-for-buck” according to The Sun Daily, along with the best in healthcare, personal safety and cost of living. Looking at the currency conversion between those of America and Malaysia, it is understandable why Americans find Malaysia an attractive place to retire to with what to them are extremely affordable retirement homes.
The term retirement home in Malaysia is unfortunately highly misconstrued and misunderstood, as the first thing that Malaysians think of when they hear the term “retirement homes” are old folks homes where the elderly are sent to when there is no one there to care for them anymore. Little do they know that this term, when used in first world countries, are in actuality top notch and strictly monitor places where the elderly can be given the best care that money can buy, where children can rest well knowing that their parents are being well cared for.
Recognising the need of proper homes for the elderly in Malaysia, The Green Leaf of Retirement; otherwise known just as The Green Leaf; was born. The Green Leaf is the crowning glory of retirement homes in Malaysia, with homes that are both river and sea fronting, surrounded by 90 acres of wild and untouched mangrove parklands. Winning the best concept for Retirement Development at HSBC’s International Property Awards (Asia Pacific Region) 2012, it is located slightly out of town in Sepang. This 138-acre resort which costs between RM980,000 and RM2.68 million adopts a holistic approach, incorporating healthcare and elderly support into the residential developments.
With the entire development being disabled-friendly and emergency-ready, some of its most intrinsic features are its 24-hour medical centre which is connected to the worldwide Emergency Medical Assistance system, where they also have their own in-house ambulance and telemedicine. Partnering the Australian-based Optimum Retirement Services (ORS) and Village Care, The Green Leaf is also compliant to the American Disability Act, AS 1428 (Australian Standards).
For more details, go to http://www.greenleafretirement.com/
Second in the list of most ideal retirement homes in Malaysia would be the niche development of AraGreens Residence which is more centrally located in Ara Damansara, conveniently placed a mere 4.3 kilometres away from the Ara Damansara Medical Centre; one of the leading hospitals in Malaysia. The developer of AraGreens Residence has a rather interesting history, where HSB Development Sdn Bhd is owned by two medical doctors who turned to property development. After recognising the needs of the elderly and acknowledging that most of the current developments are targeted towards those in their prime, AraGreens Residence was created.
Partnered with HSC Healthcare Sdn Bhd, every unit at AraGreens Residence will feature the first-in-Malaysia MediHome (Medically Enabled Home) System where the elderly can perform health checks from the comforts of their home. According to Dr. Lim, the MediHome System monitors residents from their central medical hub within AraGreens Residence itself. Readings of glucose levels, electrocardiogram (ECG), oximetry and blood pressure can be transmitted wirelessly over to the server, where family members with smart phones may access the readings even while abroad. Topping off the list of inspiring facilities is the 4.76 acres of land dedicated to community space from the total of 7.5 acres of land available; where 1.4 kilometres of connected jogging paths meander through a series of water features. These homes were available from RM634,500 onwards.
For more details, go to http://www.aragreens.com/#
3. GREEN ACRES
The third and final on the list of some of Malaysia’s top retirement homes is dedicated to those who wish to be completely away from the busy city life of Kuala Lumpur. This development is fairly unique in the sense that it is dedicated towards the elderly who are still mobile and fairly healthy. Located in the quiet and sleepy town of Ipoh, Green Acres is an upcoming retirement village of landed properties surrounded by raw nature. Catering to the elderly who wish to enjoy an independent life away from their families, Green Acres was inspired by Australian retirement villages.
The theme for Green Acres is not just unique, but its “tenancy agreement” is also out of the ordinary. These homes cannot be bought or sold; they can only be leased for life from the developer. In Phase 1, prices of the lifetime lease ranged between RM300,000 to RM452,000, where the only recurring fees that residents need to pay are maintenance fees and sinking funds. Green Acres will sit on 10 acres of land with only 170 units of homes available, and a clubhouse that is meant to serve as a community centre. It is said that the upcoming Phase 2 of the development will cater to the less independent elderly.
For more details, go to http://www.greenacres.com.my/
Other notable retirement homes in the country of Malaysia includes Eden-on-the-Park in Kuching, Sarawak, where its facilities for the elderly will be provided by Optimum-Eden Healthcare Sdn Bhd in a joint venture with Australia’s Melbourne-based Optimum Aged Care Systems; while another upcoming retirement home which is currently known only as “Little Japan” is coming up in Taman Molek, Johor targeted towards the Japanese.
Recognising the niche market of retirement homes in Malaysia and the now more accepting nature of Malaysians to the idea of retirement homes, the concept is slowly gaining traction in the market. Developers hope to overcome the usual stigma over the taboo subject of “kick-the-bucket” homes in Malaysia by turning them into luxury resorts where the elderly can live life like a holiday. Although there have admittedly been a number of failed retirement home projects in the past, statistics and the fact that Malaysia has been chosen as one of the top 5 retirement destinations in the world indicates that retirement homes will gradually and conservatively be gaining more attention in Malaysia.
Did you know that the first retirement village that was established in Malaysia is the Sri Seronok Retirement Village that was built in 1988? Located in Cheras, these homes were first conceived by Soter Fernandez, a former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur. As of July 2013, these homes are still very popular, and is beginning to have an increasingly long waiting list.
(Written by: Diane Foo Eu Lynn, 16th March 2015)