Ageing: Survey shows Malaysians among top worriers for sunset years

According to a survey, some 62 per cent of Malaysians worry about old age, which they see as starting at 56, a whole decade earlier than the global average. — Picture by Yuri Arcurs /shutterstock.com
According to a survey, some 62 per cent of Malaysians worry about old age, which they see as starting at 56, a whole decade earlier than the global average. — Picture by Yuri Arcurs /shutterstock.com

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 ― Despite  a recent trend in posting ageing selfies, it appears many Malaysians worry about their sunset years, ranking fourth place out of 28 countries in a survey by market research firm Ipsos.

Some 62 per cent of Malaysians worry about old age, which they see as starting at 56, a whole decade earlier than the global average.

In comparison, only 45 per cent of citizens of India, 48 per cent of the United States and 50 per cent of the United Kingdom worry about ageing.

The survey revealed that people in most countries polled marked the arrival of old age in their late 60s or even early 70s in some instances. People in the United Kingdom and the United States consider 68 to be the onset of old age.

The global online survey conducted by market research firm Ipsos revealed that 49 per cent of Malaysians are not optimistic about ageing and are not looking forward to old age, a huge contrast to other countries like India where 73 per cent of people polled were optimistic about ageing while Turkey polled 67 per cent.

When asked what the worst thing about getting old is; globally 30 per cent of those polled responded that they personally worry about not having enough money to live on in the old age.

About 26 per cent said it was losing mobility that worried them most, 24 per cent said it was losing memory and 22 per cent said it was being unable to do things one once could.

A predominant view that emerged globally was that it is the job of the young to care for the ageing relatives.

While three-quarters of Malaysians polled endorsed this view, just over half or 56 per cent felt that there is a general lack of respect towards the elderly.

Despite  these roadblocks, most Malaysians are confident that they can cruise through their ‘twilight years’ with considerable ease.

Some 76 per cent of Malaysians — compared to global average of 64 per cent — feel that it is possible to prepare for old age.

This confidence stems from the fact that a whopping 85 per cent Malaysians expect to be fit and healthy in old age, against global average of 57 per cent.

Interestingly, 44 per cent of Malaysians also felt that their political clout increases as they get older, which was not the case with most other countries.

Globally, only 29 per cent agree that old people have too much political influence.

The survey further revealed that the optimism Malaysians have about ageing is underpinned by their faith in technology.

A significant 60 per cent of Malaysians believe that technological developments will help make their lives easier during their old age.

On the contrary, only about 50 per cent of Europeans — 44 per cent in France and Belgium, 46 per cent in Sweden, 48 per cent in Hungary and Czech Republic and 51 per cent in the United Kingdom — believe that technology could improve their lives drastically in the old age.

Ipsos Malaysia managing director Arun Menon said that decreasing fertility rates and increasing life expectancy is fast forwarding Malaysia to the status of an ageing society.

“Malaysians, considering 56 as an old age, are not optimistic about ageing. Where the marketers might look at this as an opportunity, there is an uphill task for the government and communities to be equipped to support an ageing society.

“However, the development in technology and preparedness might make life easier during old age.”

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