MODERN, FACILITY-RICH VILLAGE TO SET NEW BENCHMARK AND BREAK OLD STIGMAS
BY Chris Prasad
For too long, our long-held Asian stigmas about duty, filial piety and social impressions have hampered the evolution of the retirement home concept in Malaysia. Yet rapid urbanisation, population growth, congested city living and diminishing space has made it harder for us to care for loved ones in a way that offers comfort and quick access to medical facilities.
This is why emerging projects such as GreenAcres should be welcomed as a breath of fresh air, because it ushers in a new era of retirement options in the country – breaking old stereotypes of stale communes to offer a proper residential enclave that proposes a fulfilling lifestyle, security and access to medical aid.
The project in Bandar Meru Raya, in Perak’s capital of Ipoh, recently unveiled the first phase of the RM100 million project, positioning itself as the “Premier Retirement Village” in the country. With a distinct shortage of such facilities in Malaysia, it is a claim few would challenge.
The first phase of the project comprises 26 units of resident-ready single-storey landed villas with lush linear gardens that come with walking paths, gazebo, water feature and flourishing greens throughout.
In conjunction with this, GreenAcres also launched its RM10 million clubhouse, which spans 30,000sq ft and will provide a valuable anchor for residents’ community activities. The clubhouse is also the largest of its kind within a residential development in the city.
Located in an ideal setting within the scenic Ipoh landscape, the entire project boasts a pristine of emerald green hills and towering limestone outcrops.
At the official launch, the Minister of Plantation Industry and Commodities Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong – who is also a Perak native – said he was proud of the project by Total Investment Sdn Bhd.
“For their vision, I would like to applaud the Total Investment Group for taking a leap of faith towards transforming the retirement landscape in our country. The launch of GreenAcres is the start of retirement services that priorities the needs and sustainable lifestyles of the silver set within the country, relinquishing the stigma of ‘old age’ and ‘old folks home’,” Mah said.
Citing the Department of Statistics, he said the life expectancy of Malaysians is on the rise, with men and women expected to live for another 12 to 17 years past the official retirement age. Men are expected to live until the age of 72 and women until the age of 77.
In tandem with this is the rise of employment mobility where increasingly many children are exploring employment opportunities away from their hometown. As such, many elderly parents face the prospect of having to live alone.
GreenAcres provides an appealing alternative by embracing and promoting a community of senior citizens as well as fostering a healthy, active and social lifestyle.
Executive director of Total Investment Group John Chong said that he was delighted to already have the support of the first-residents within the homes.
“The first phase villas include new residents which comprise people from Malaysia, Hong Kong and Canada. We are receiving great interest from residents from all over the world who would like to retire gracefully and comfortably in Ipoh and we are confident that with the official opening of GreenAcres, we will be able to attract even more interest,” he said.
This year, a global authority on retirement and relocation opportunities, International Living, named Malaysia as one of the top 10 places in the world to retire citing affordability, world-class healthcare, idyllic vacation spots and multiculturalism as reasons for their selection.
In 2014, US News cited Ipoh as the third most affordable place in the world to retire, with its “first-world healthcare, modern infrastructure and fresh air, clean water and relaxing lifestyle which improves the quality of life and promotes longevity”.
Covering 13 acres, GreenAcres is a low-density retirement village with integrated aged care facilities. It is open to residents above the age of 55 and will be built in phases. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2021.
The project was conceptualised with the help of experts in the field from Australia, offering home designs that are age-friendly and available in six layouts; ranging from 734sq ft to 1,105sq ft in built-up size.
The homes are taken up using a novel lease deposit structure with amounts starting from RM300,000. This means that lease deposits are fully-refundable once a resident leaves the village.
The comfortable compact homes enjoy gated-and-guarded security and are designed to provide fuss-free upkeep for residents. Also, each home comes with more than 10 age-friendly features such as wider doors; lower and larger switches; wider and longer handles on furnishings; bathroom grab rails; taps with lever handles; seats in the shower; ramped entryways at the main entrance; step-less bathroom; emergency call buttons; and levers handles on all doors.
The units are readily equipped with lights, fans, air-conditioning, grilles, mosquito netting, built in cabinets and alarm system.
Emergency call buttons are placed in the living room, the bathrooms as well as the bedrooms and are connected to a round-the-clock central monitoring system placed in the guardhouse and the clubhouse.
At the clubhouse, extensive facilities include a lounge area, gym, games room, pool table room, 24 seater mini-cinema for screenings, karaoke room, a TV lounge, a reading room, private function rooms, and community planting boxes where the retirees can come together to enjoy community life. A café and dining area is also in the works.
The community management team, which will be permanently situated at the clubhouse, are also first-aid trained. The team will facilitate regular on-site age-friendly active and social lifestyle, such as movie nights, karaoke evenings, senior zumba, yoga, tai chi and health talks.
For travel convenience, a village shuttle is available to ferry residents off-site and back to popular stops around town.
The management team can also organise off-site tours on behalf of the retirees to nearby attractions such as the Kledang Saiong Forest Eco Park (a mere three minutes away from the development), the Lost World of Tambun theme park, the Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS), Kellie’s Castle and Gua Tempurung.
The developer, Total Investment (better known as TI Homes), has been active in Ipoh for more than 20 years with a wide track record of various successful projects. It sees the delivery of GreenAcres as a continuance of its service to the Ipoh community as well as an opportunity to now showcase Ipoh’s beauty to a larger regional audience.
To find out more about the facilities and services at GreenAcres, or to schedule a visit, follow this link: http://greenacres.com.my.