Potential in Malaysia’s aged-care facilities

Aged-care facilities have been growing in Malaysia, opening up new investment potential.

April 09, 2021

Investors and developers have seen the potential of aged-care facilities in Malaysia. The country’s population of elderly people (65 years and above) rose from 3.7% in 1990 to 6.7% in 2019. This number is forecast to rise to a whopping 15% by 2030. Simultaneously, over the last three decades, the birth rate in Malaysia has declined dramatically, from 4.9 children (per woman of childbearing age) in 1970 to 1.8 in 2019, causing a shift in Malaysia’s age structure.

Some developers are still having second thoughts about investing in this sector, because of the negative connotation of sending one’s parents to residential care homes. However, a better understanding of the sector can improve investors’ sentiment.

Currently, there are numerous aged-care facilities in Malaysia, operated by the private sector, non-profit organisations and government welfare bodies. These facilities can broadly be divided into four main types based on the level of wellness or medical care, facilities, and accommodation:

  1. Specialised services − Dementia Homecare Centre (DHC) in Telok Panglima Garang, Selangor. It is a purpose-built nursing home for Alzheimer's and dementia patients, which is one the first of its kind in Malaysia. Other well-known names in the sector include Aged Care Group and Homage.

  2. Day-care centres − It is generally well considered by many older people, as it provides them with care and company during the day when their children are busy at work. Some examples of elderly day-care centres are Metro Eldercare and Ixora Senior Care.

  3. Service providers − There are at least 14 service providers listed on the Malaysian Eldercare Resources, including Love on Wheels, My Flex Health and Nurses at Home, to name a few. They send nurses to patients’ home to assist them, monitor their health, and ensure that patients are fed properly and given medication on time.

  4. Retirement villages / Independent Living − In the last decade, there has been an increased interest in developers and investors in developing “retirement villages” such as GreenAcres Retirement Village and Eden-on-the-Park. Although it is not a new concept, due to the ageing population and decreasing number of caretaking dependents, we continue to see growing interest in this subsector, year by year.

Government welfare homes and non-profit organisations are mostly operating at full capacity. There is a long waiting list for applicants who meet the stringent requirements of these facilities. Concurrently, many affordable, private-sector aged-care facilities, offering long-term care are also enjoying high occupancy. Due to the high demand, a number of expansions/new care centres have been set up in the past four to five years. These include Summer Breeze Cottage Caring Homes, My Precious Home, and Lotus Care Premium Assisted Living, which offer a range of affordable luxury to premium elderly care.

On the other hand, although the trend of retirement village is yet to be popular, we foresee this subsector picking up fast as the public becomes aware of the need and benefits of this facility.