Healthcare system must address the multidimensional challenges of ageing

MUSLIMS are encouraged to do good and enjoy a quality of life until the end of their lives. Islam prioritises a consistent and balanced approach in life from conception to death. In this matter, the Quran highlights various phases in life.

"Allah is the one who created you from weakness, then made after weakness strength, then made after strength, weakness and white hair. He creates what He wills, and He is the Knowing, the Competent." (ar-Rum (30): 54)

As Malaysia is heading towards an ageing nation, the issues of facilities, transport systems and the provision of health services that are friendly to the elderly need to be emphasised accordingly.

The situation becomes more difficult for those who are single. This is one of the realities that will happen in less than six years as 15 per cent of Malaysia's population will be over 65 years old.

By 2030, one in six people in the world will be 60 years or older. At that time, the proportion of the population aged 60 and over is expected to increase from one billion in 2020 to 1.4 billion. The global population of senior citizens aged 60 and over will double by 2050 (2.1 billion).

The number of people aged 80 and over is expected to triple between 2020 and 2050, rising to 426 million. While an ageing population can mean an increase in knowledge and experience, it can also create new challenges for the country.

As people get older, they have more health problems. The healthcare system must, therefore, be prepared to meet the needs of an ageing population.

According to statistics published by the Statistics Department, the proportion of the country's population aged 65 and more is predicted to reach 20 per cent by 2056, making us a "super-aged nation".

In another analysis, the average life expectancy at birth in 2021 would be 75.6 years, as opposed to 63.6 years 50 years earlier.

Furthermore, Malaysia's ageing population has become a major concern due to the increased prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), chronic disorders that develop gradually though preventable, which can be barriers to healthy ageing.

Hence, it is imperative to comprehend the relationship between healthy ageing and the burden of NCDs for improving the wellbeing and quality of life of ageing populations.

The elderly and young should prioritise their health from the beginning to avoid dependency on others and lead a more fulfilling life in their golden age.

Some strategies should be focused on reducing the risk of NCDs and promoting healthy ageing among the elderly, including nutrient-rich diets and healthy lifestyle choices.

As the population ages, routine health checks, early diagnosis and management of NCDs risk factors become more crucial in preventing the onset of illness. As a result, investing in healthy ageing efforts and initiatives is vital to creating a healthy and resilient ageing population in the future.

Furthermore, it is imperative to carry out research in gerontology, geriatrics and gerontechnology disciplines.

These areas of study could unlock new possibilities for healthy ageing and drive innovation in addressing the multidimensional challenges and opportunities of the ageing population.

The writer is a fellow at the Centre for Science and Environmental Studies, Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM)

Most Popular
Related Article
Says Stories