MEETING NEEDS: Jeta Care combines the best in Western practices with Asian values
JOHOR BARU: AS their children relocate to the cities for work or move abroad, some old folk are choosing to live in professionally-run communities, with people of their own age.
Living out their golden years with high levels of comfort, dignity and independence is an idea that many senior citizens are embracing.
Tan Choe Lam decided to meet that need by setting up Jeta Care in his hometown of Kulaijaya, Johor, two years ago.
"The name Jeta is derived from Jetavana, a place in India where Buddha gave most of his teachings," said Tan, a Buddhist.
The centre incorporates the Jeta Concepts which he created, in 2000, for a professionally-run retirement village and residential aged care facility that incorporate the four-fold concept of ageing in place, East meets West, 4-Hs for home, hotel, holiday resort and hospital and providing service with joy and compassion.
Tan's ageing in place concept provides residents with a one-stop facility where they can enjoy a lifestyle that matches their level of independence.
The residential care packages available range from low care to high care, dementia care, respite care, nursing care as well as palliative care.
"We have a clinical assessment system to determine the level of care needed," said Tan.
From time to time, he said, there were reviews to ascertain residents' current needs. Care packages would then be recommended based on these assessments so that residents receive the most appropriate care and attention.
Brought up with the Confucian virtue of filial piety, Tan, an aircraft engineer, quit his job in 1981 to look after his father who had suffered a stroke.
He said that the experience gave him the desire to create a support system which allows those who are looking after ailing and ageing relatives to have a successful career as well.
In 2007, he founded Jeta Gardens, a senior lifestyle community, in Queensland, Australia.
Tan said Jeta Gardens managed to reduce the social stigma carried by senior care facilities because its operations combined the best in Western practices with Asian values. It provides professional senior care services that meet the interests of a multicultural community and enable residents to enjoy a quality lifestyle with compassionate and caring services.
Last year, Kumpulan Perubatan Johor (KPJ) Healthcare became a major partner of Jeta Gardens with a development plan for the next 10 years that included a hospital dedicated to geriatric care, international nurses training college, serviced apartments and a shopping mall.
Tan was a mentor to his younger son Jack Tan Yeu Jie, as he supervised the renovation and fitting-out of four units of their family-owned shops.
The modern three-level building is wheelchair-friendly and has elevators, a surau and halal menu, a hair salon and a rooftop garden, to comfortably accommodate 80 residents.
Jeta Care welcomed it first resident, Subramaniam Pechaimuthu, 70, followed by nine other residents, when it opened as Malaysia's first aged care centre based on Australian concepts and Confucian values.
"Our director of nursing from Jeta Gardens will give six weeks of training here," said Tan, who emphasised that the staff were trained in Jeta core values such as treating residents as extended family members and providing service with joy and compassion.
Jeta Care prides itself in serving as an ideal home for seniors of diverse cultural and language backgrounds as the staff understand the local culture and more than one Chinese dialect or Asian language.
To ensure that residents receive the best attention, the building has a 24-hour nurse-call-system with easily accessible call buttons in the event of emergencies.
To encourage resident and family interaction, the rooftop garden is linked to a multi-purpose hall with a library and recreational activities such watching television and karaoke singing.
The grassy rooftop is ideal for outdoor exercise and barbecues. There is also an elevated plot for residents to enjoy gardening.
The building is also equipped with WiFi hotspots for wireless high-speed Internet access.
Tan aims to make Jeta Care the "Hilton of senior care centres" in Malaysia.
"When I see the smiling faces of the residents, I feel that it is all worth it," he added.
Jeta Care is at 1, 2 & 3 Jalan Susur 1, Taman Seraya, Kulai Besar, Kulaijaya, Johor. For details, call 07-663 6888, fax 07-663 3669 or visit www.jetacare.com.