A sweet sanc­tu­ary for the el­derly

One man dreams of cre­at­ing a hos­pitable, healthy liv­ing space for the el­derly of Malaysia.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Living - By MAJORIE CHIEW star2@thes­tar.com.my For more in­for­ma­tion on the Ti-Ratana Wel­fare So­ci­ety, go to ti-ratana.org.my. For en­quiries, call 03-7988 1818, 013-388 9900 (Ms Yap), or 018366 9900 (Ms Lee).

THE Ti-Ratana Wel­fare So­ci­ety plans to build a home in Salak South Baru, Kuala Lumpur, to pro­vide free el­derly care for 500 se­nior cit­i­zens.

The Ti-Ratana Se­niors’ Sanc­tu­ary will be housed in a five-storey build­ing cost­ing about RM12mil that will, hope­fully, be com­pleted within a year, says the so­ci­ety’s founder and ad­vi­sor, the Ven­er­a­ble Datuk K. Sri Dham­maratana, who heads the Bud­dhist Maha Vi­hara tem­ple in KL.

To date, the build­ing fund stands at RM4mil and there are plans to raise more money to en­sure that the pro­ject can be com­pleted with­out any hitches.

How­ever, de­tails have not been worked out yet. Once they are, Dham­maratana, 69, hopes the pub­lic will do­nate gen­er­ously to­wards this good cause.

“The sanc­tu­ary will pro­vide free food, lodg­ing and med­i­cal care for el­i­gi­ble se­niors (those who are poor and have no im­me­di­ate fam­ily).

“They do not have to pay any­thing,” he stresses. “Their wel­fare will be fully taken care of.”

He is con­fi­dent that the funds will come in, es­pe­cially with the help of the Ti-Ratana “Won­der Women”, a team of 40 women (rang­ing in age from late 20s to early 50s) who work on the so­ci­ety’s com­mu­nity projects.

The build­ing will have two lev­els for male res­i­dents and two for fe­males. In­te­ri­ors will be tai­lored to the needs of the el­derly – for in­stance, cor­ri­dors will be ex­tra wide to ac­com­mo­date wheelchairs, and light switches will be placed lower for eas­ier ac­cess.

There will also be a cen­tre of­fer­ing free ba­sic med­i­cal check-ups and med­i­ca­tion. Spe­cial­ist doc­tors will make regular sched­uled vis­its to pro­vide free med­i­cal con­sul­ta­tion and treat­ment, and in the off­ing is an am­bu­lance ser­vice.

There are also plans to house the ter­mi­nally ill so that they can have “a peaceful stay” in the re­main­ing time they have.

Presently, Ti-Ratana pro­vides ac­com­mo­da­tion for 180 se­nior cit­i­zens and 200 or­phans. The se­niors have al­ready been moved out to bunk in tem­po­rar­ily with the or­phans af­ter the four houses they were liv­ing in were de­mol­ished to make way for the pro­ject.

The new build­ing was en­vis­aged in view of the grow­ing age­ing pop­u­la­tion as well as to im­prove the stan­dard of care for the aged. More­over, those four old houses had been in­fested with ter­mites.

The new premises will be built on a 2,000sq m site op­po­site the Ti-Ratana or­phan­age.

Be­sides pro­vid­ing an im­proved liv­ing space for the elders, Dham­maratana ex­plains that there are plans “to en­sure that the res­i­dents have a holis­tic, healthy and bal­anced lifestyle with ac­tiv­i­ties such as qi gong and yoga in­tro­duced to im­prove phys­i­cal health”.

Ini­tia­tives are also be­ing planned to look af­ter the men­tal well­be­ing of the se­niors and en­sure their qual­ity of life on a day-to-day ba­sis.

This pro­ject, Dham­maratana says, is a mile­stone for the so­ci­ety, which will mark its 20th an­niver­sary on Nov 18.

While it has been car­ing for or­phans since the 1990s, it was only in 2005 that the so­ci­ety started its el­derly care pro­gramme. Cur­rently, Ti-Ratana spends RM180,000 a month on the or­phans and se­nior cit­i­zens un­der its care, says Dham­maratana.

Se­niors’ Sanc­tu­ary is one of three dream projects that Dham­maratana is hop­ing will be re­alised. The other two are the Ti-Ratana Sanc­tu­ary (aka the Ben­tong vil­lage pro­ject, Pa­hang) and the Ti-Ratana vo­ca­tional in­sti­tute in Bangi, Se­lan­gor.

Con­struc­tion of the Ben­tong pro­ject will be­gin in Septem­ber this year and is ex­pected to be com­pleted in two years.

And plans have been sub­mit­ted for the land con­ver­sion re­quired for the vo­ca­tional in­sti­tute pro­ject to pro­ceed, he says.

— Hand­outs

Artist im­pres­sions of front (left) and back views of the pro­posed Se­niors’ Sanc­tu­ary. The cen­tre will of­fer free food, board and care to el­derly peo­ple in need.

— Filepic

Dham­maratana with some of the kids at the Ti-Ratana home ear­lier this year. He wants to make sure the el­derly are also well-cared for.

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