Human longevity is constantly changing the demographic outlook of the world’s population and older people are projected to double in the next 30 years from 11% to 22% of the world’s population. Malaysia is no exception and, like most western and developing nations, the number of Malaysians aged 60 years and above has been gradually rising from the 1970s onwards and is currently estimated to represent 10% of its population. This has created an urgent need to develop age-friendly cities, so that older individuals living in urban areas can have an improved life. It is important that the aging population continues to lead healthy and productive lives as far as possible. In this project, which is a work in progress, we surveyed a suburban community, aged 50 years and above, residing in Bandar Sunway and its vicinity in the state of Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia. The aim was to assess their health and perceptions on mobility through targeted questionnaires, in-depth interviews and focus groups and identify the factors associated with healthy aging in a holistic manner. The overall goal is to promote a healthy mind in a healthy body despite the advancing years. In the preliminary phase we surveyed 73 participants aged between 52 – 85 years and compared responses and clinical parameters for individuals below (N = 36) and ≥ 65 years (N = 37) in age. Based on their Body Mass Index (BMI), the participants were generally healthy with a normal BMI (45%) or slightly overweight (41%) with a higher BMI and blood lipid levels. There were no significant differences in the cognitive assessments between the two age groups (p = 0.945). A majority (70%) of the participants were satisfied with their lives in Bandar Sunway, but some reported several health related issues and chronic diseases. However, this was not a factor that hindered their quality of life. Older adults in Bandar Sunway still preferred driving their own vehicles instead of taking public transports. This was due to several shortfalls in the transportation systems: pricing, schedules of transport, safety, and cleanliness. Preliminary results have identified several aspects of public transportation in urban areas that can be improved to better serve the aging community. In doing so, we anticipate the findings and recommendations will be applicable to a much wider community in Malaysia and other parts of the world. The project is aligned with the theme of improving health and well-being and will provide a model for understanding and dealing with aging in the local community.
Rajandran, Kasturi; Md Zoqratt, Muhammad Zarul Hanifah; Shee, Dexter Zhen Rong; Lukic, George Woon; Tan, Kristel; Teh, Pei-Lee; Alex, Deepa; Kalavally, Vineetha; Lee, Shaun Wen Huey; Schaefer, Alexandre Rene; Jairaman, Jamuna; Wong, Chieh Lee; and Ayub, Qasim, "Aging and Urban Mobility in Bandar Sunway: A Holistic Approach" (2020). ICEB 2020 Proceedings. 45.