Insight – Australia can help Malaysia develop its senior living sector

Opportunities for collaboration and long-term partnerships 

Australia can play a significant role in helping Malaysia prepare for the needs of its ageing population. Austrade has identified an immediate need for solutions and services providers, consultants and training providers. 

There are opportunities for organisations specialising in senior living to work with local firms. The focus is on building Malaysia’s senior living infrastructure and services.   

Austrade is planning a series of business events over the coming months to highlight potential collaboration and partnership opportunities. Contact Austrade Kuala Lumpur for more information (details below).

The need for senior living solutions in Asia

The United Nations expects the number of people over the age of 65 in Asia to triple by 2050. 

Family members and domestic workers often care for senior citizens who are unable to live independently. They may also live in ‘old folks’ homes that may not be properly licensed. 

Several factors have made it harder for working families to look after the complex needs of senior citizens. These factors include increased workforce participation, demographic change and migration.

Malaysia and other countries in the region are looking for solutions to these challenges.

Malaysia seeks to develop its aged care facilities and services

The average life expectancy of Malaysians was 74.9 in 2019. Malaysia is on track to becoming an ageing nation by 2030. Senior citizens are expected to make up 14.2% of the population. 

With rising income levels, more retirees have the means to live in comfortable retirement communities with easy access to leisure activities and medical services. 

International Living ranked Malaysia ranked No. 7 in its Global Retirement Index 2021 (Source: International Living, The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2021, accessed 2 August 2021). The country also has a thriving medical tourism sector. There is potential for Malaysia to become a destination for medical tourism and retirement facilities.

The Malaysian Government has designated aged care as a policy priority. It has acknowledged the need to develop the local infrastructure, such as retirement living, aged care facilities and mobile health services. Local developers are preparing to tap into the growing demand for senior housing. 

Australian providers should be sensitive to local needs

While Australia has 2,800 registered aged care facilities, Malaysia has less than 200 licensed facilities. There are many more unlicensed facilities or care centres. 

Malaysia has limited senior living experience. It recognises that Australian expertise, which is well regarded in Malaysia, is required to deliver services and facilities. The country is keen to benefit from Australia’s decades of experience catering to its ageing multicultural population. 

To successfully conduct business in Malaysia, Australian service providers and consultants should carefully consider the needs of the market. They should consider unique cultural factors associated with senior living. Language, religion and dietary preferences are important considerations when venturing into this sector.

Austrade: here to help

Contact Sandra Lim, Business Development Manager, Austrade Kuala Lumpur, for more information on how you can be a part of Malaysia’s silver economy.