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Friday, June 24, 2011

Elderly reaching the top of KL Tower

Never too late to learn” was the title of an article in the section Star Educate (Sunday 19th June 2011). Inspiring stories regarding some older Malaysian who were involved in the activities under the University of the Third Age (U3A) at the Institute of Gerontology (IG), Universiti Putra Malaysia were laid down. It is a very good project piloted by IG and it is hoped that these activities will keep on going. Perhaps this type of project can be taken up, even at small scale by other stakeholders. Reflecting what I wrote in my blog in 2008 titled “Post Doctorate at 82”, where I felt very inspired after talking to an elderly participant who attended the British Socitey of Gerontology conference. She came not only as participant but presented a paper. The moral behind all these is that the elderly people want and should maximise their health and vitality. And the younger generations should be aware of their needs and work together with them.

This led me into sharing the determination of an elderly group in Hulu Langat, Selangor. These elderly are members of an NGO called “Maslangat Association”. The members of this organisation took the challenge to go up the 2,058 steps of KL Tower. This happened during the International Golden Towerthon held in Kuala Lumpur on the 26th of July 2009. UKM Medical Centre through it’s health promotion initiative called mysenam.com organised the first Golden Towerthon where participants compete with regards to time taken to reach the peak of KL Tower. Participants were divided into five categories including two categories for the elderly. Altogether 639 participants took part. Out of 83 elderly (60 years and above), 62 were able to reach the top. Champion for category A was a 73 years old male Chinese from Ipoh and for female category was a 70 years old Chinese woman from Hulu Langat. Time taken was 19.03 minutes and 1 hour 13.22 minutes respectively compared to 10.41 minutes and 13.37 minutes for the youngest male and female age group. The oldest participant was 75 years old. What we can conclude here is, champion title was not the main aim of the competition especially for the elderly group. However the spirit and determination of these older citizens were the most important message to be put forward to the public, apart from the high commitment of a health organization such as UKMMC in promoting active ageing. ·