Friday, November 4, 2016

SETTING THE STANDARD FOR OLD FOLKS HOMES

Coming up the driveway to Little Sisters of the Poor / St Francis Xavier Home for the Elderly in Cheras, KL

It was back in the 1970s that I first heard of Little Sisters of the Poor (LSP). I had imagined it to be a place where the elderly poor would spend their final years looked after by caring nuns who had dedicated their lives to God and to charity work. Being young then, I had little interest and absolutely no reason at all to visit the place.

Near impossible to find an aged care facility in the city centre with so much greenery and open spaces.

Decades later and now the founder of a seniors community, I had good reasons to pay a visit. Over the years LSP had gained a solid reputation as the 'gold standard' for aged care facilities. It has become the yardstick to measure other similar facilities.

So when the opportunity came last August to visit LSP with a group of academicians from UPM, I grabbed it. The visit was certainly an eye-opener. To say I was impressed by what I saw is putting it mildly. I was awestruck!

Let me take you on a virtual tour of LSP.

The dining hall. Great idea to use cut-out tennis balls to protect against scratching the floor.
The reading room.
The hair salon. Notice the gleaming floors at LSP. Unbelievable!

The physiotherapy room.
The sewing room. Note also the natural lighting in all the rooms.
The shop where items made by the residents and volunteers are sold.
Lounges are everywhere for residents and visitors to rest their tired feet or simply to sit down and relax.
The tea room.
The kitchen - spick and span and spotlessly clean.
The laundry room. Adjacent to it is where clothes are sorted and folded.
There are hand rails all along the corridors, and in the lifts. Note too the wall phones on every level.
A peek into one of the rooms with attached bathroom and toilet.
Benches on every level. Facilities at LSP are without doubt elderly-centred.
At the cafeteria listening to Sister share about LSP.
The main hall where the residents were enjoying some performances when we dropped in.
Colour drawings by the residents.
Fun activities to keep the residents happily occupied.
Daily programme of activities for the month.
Group photo in the garden at the end of our visit.
It would be a challenge for most existing aged care centres to come close to LSP in terms of size, facilities and dedicated staff. Throw in cleanliness, efficiency and integrity, and you can understand why there is a long waiting list for admission to LSP.

Little Sisters of the Poor celebrated its golden anniversary last Deccember 2015. What a remarkable achievement! Pope Francis sent a special apostolic blessing to mark the auspicious occasion.

With the proposed Aged Healthcare Act to be introduced next year, the elderly in old folks home and nursing homes in Malaysia can look forward to better care and better facilities. Aged care centres that fail to meet the stipulated standards will face stiff penalties. They will also have to be licensed and registered.

I can almost see the elderly clapping their hands with glee and jumping for joy! It's been a long time coming.