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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

With Covid-19, times get hard for old folk’s homes

 

Pusat Jagaan Mahmudah Malaysia in Semenyih, Selangor, which has 50 residents. 

PETALING JAYA: With the lockdown keeping regular patrons away, old folk’s homes are running out of options and cash during the Covid-19 pandemic.

What is worse is that some of the residents have come down with the infection. With 50 senior citizens under its care, Pusat Jagaan Mahmudah Malaysia president Ruslan Saidin told FMT the additional cost of preventing Covid-19 cases has only compounded their woes.

After 30 of the residents contracted the virus, the home has had little choice but to discard beddings daily to break the chain. Two residents had died of the virus.

Ruslan said the home was now in urgent need of donations to help them make ends meet, but has nowhere to turn to.

“Before Covid-19, our monthly operational cost was about RM50,000 to feed the residents and pay our staff,” he said. “Covid-19 SOPs (standard operating procedures) have added another RM8,000 to the bill.”

He said the home could not hold on for more than three months if Covid-19 numbers stayed high and the lockdown continued.

Senior citizens observing standard operating procedures during meal time.

Since the deaths in the home, they have only allowed its residents to leave the premises with their next of kin, with mandated screening upon their return.

The same fate looms for Pusat Jagaan Insan Emas Nur Hidayah, a home with 15 residents that has lost more than 70% of its income since the pandemic.

The home’s president, Saipul Anuar Yusuf, told FMT their savings could only last two months.

He said the home has been resorting to cutting allowances for its five workers and changing residents’ meal plans to save on operational costs.

Some of the residents at Pusat Jagaan Insan Emas Nur Hidayah.

“Before, we had chicken and beef,” he said. “Now it’s just greens and fish.”

To keep the home up and running, Anuar said he has doubled up as a wholesaler of pineapples and coconuts at local markets.

“What I earn from that will go to the home,” he said. “Our operational costs are at about RM10,000 to RM12,000, including utilities and other necessities.” - FMT

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