I am not very fond of the term ‘nursing homes’ as I had my fair share of fear of such facilities. When my dad had his leg amputated a few years ago, I went round Penang town in search of professional care facilities. In my mind, I want professional facilities that are clean and professionally run.

However, most of the facilities then were converted homes, which meant I saw beds lining up in the hallway and corridors, and 2-3 people sharing a small room.  In most cases, the senior citizens would be sitting together in the hall, staring blankly into the ceiling or watching a “movie”, which would have been a replay for the 20th time.

Until today, I still can’t forget the eyes of an elderly lady. It was filled with such loneliness and sadness, that I could not help but cry; it will probably stay with me forever.

Unfortunately, my experience with nursing homes was not pleasant.

Few years down the track… the inevitable has happened!

The thoughts of finding a nursing home in Penang was not a venture that I would embark on eagerly, until last year when my mum had a fall and fractured her thigh bone. This unfortunately required surgery and many months of rehabilitation. She has the chance to fully utilise her legs again in a few months, therefore immediate rehab and care are paramount.

At this point, the wisest thing to do is send her to a rehabilitation centre (nursing home), with complete rest.  This means she can solely focus on her recovery and have professional 24 hours nursing care. We also did not have time to organise for home care, plus it was not advisable to take on something we are not trained for, i.e. looking after an opened wound.

There was a time where I would be worried about nursing homes, but luckily we visited a relative on our last trip back to Penang who was in a professional nursing care in a new development, and we were quite impressed with it.

It has private shared rooms (smallish but doable) for every residence. There was a proper lounge for entertaining. And no one had to sleep along the corridor or the lounge. The facility includes 24 hour nursing care, meals supplied and laundry facilities. They also have an in house physiotherapist to assist with the recovery.

During that time, my dad was also going through treatment for his prostate cancer. We thought it would be a good idea if my dad could join my mum at the nursing home, and he agreed.

So, straight after my mum’s operation, we managed to secure a private room for them at this facility, so that they can support each other and keep each other company during their recuperation.

There are still many things to write about on this topic, but generally, nursing care facilities for the ill and aged have come a long way in Penang, and it is improving every single day. Care facilities for our frail people and the elderly need to have high standards all around the world.