Happy Golden Years

Facade of Jeta Care in Kulaijaya, Johor
Through a healthier lifestyle, many seniors are enjoying longer life spans and even in their advancing age, they prefer to spend time with people of their own age.  As their children may have relocated to the cities for work or live abroad, these seniors can now choose to retire comfortably in professionally-run senior communities.  In fact, living out their golden years with enjoyment, dignity and independence is a mindset many Asian senior citizens are now increasingly embracing. 

Jack Lim, Executive Director of Jeta Care with
his father and mentor, Tan Choe Lam
The senior lifestyle community in Jeta Gardens, Queensland Australia, successfully removed the social stigma of senior care facilities because its operations combine the best in Western practices with Asian values.  Open since 2007, Jeta Gardens provides professional senior care services that meet the interests of a multi-cultural community and help them enjoy a quality lifestyle with a range of compassionate and caring services. 

In 2011, Kumpulan Perubatan Johor (KPJ) Healthcare became a major partner of Jeta Gardens with a development plan for the next 10 years that include a hospital dedicated to geriatric care, international nurses training college, serviced apartments and a shopping mall.

“The name Jeta is derived from Jetavana, a place in India where Buddha gave most of his teachings,” said Tan Choe Lam, a Buddhist and founder of Jeta Gardens.  Brought up with the Confucian values of filial piety, Tan, an aircraft engineer by profession, quit his job in 1981 to do his filial duty to care for his father who had suffered a stroke.  The experience of caring for his father, planted the seeds of desire to create a support system where one can have a successful career and married life while caring of our aged and ailing seniors.

Hotel quality bedding in rooms
In 2000, Tan created the Jeta Concepts for a professionally run retirement village and residential aged care facility that incorporate the 4-fold concept of Aging in Place, East Meets West, 4-Hs for Home, Hotel, Holiday Resort and Hospital and providing service with Joy and Compassion.  His Aging in Place concept provides residents with a one-stop facility where they can enjoy a lifestyle that matches their level of independence.  The residential care packages available range from low care to high care, dementia care, respite care, nursing care as well as palliative care.

“We have a clinical assessment system to determine the level of care needed,” said Tan who went on to explain that from time to time there are reviews to ascertain the resident’s current needs.  Care packages will then be recommended based on these assessments so that residents receive the most appropriate care and attention.  With the success of Jeta Gardens in Australia, Tan decided to bring the Jeta Concepts to Johor and work on creating Jeta Care in his hometown, Kulaijaya, started in 2010.

A section of Jeta Cafe on ground level of Jeta Care
Tan was a mentor to his younger son Jack Tan Yeu Jie, as he supervised the renovation and fitting-out of 4 units of their family-owned shops over the last 2 years.  The modern 3-level building is designed with elevators, wheelchair-friendly and multi-cultural facilities like a surau and halal menu, a hair salon as well as a rooftop garden, to comfortably accommodate 80 residents.  Jeta Care welcomed their first resident, Subramaniam Pechaimuthu, 70, followed by 9 other residents, when they recently opened as Malaysia’s first Aged Care Centre based on Australian concepts and Confucian values.

Subramaniam Pechaimuthu, 70,
the first resident of Jeta Care
“Our Director of Nursing from Jeta Gardens will give 6 weeks of training here,” said Tan who emphasized that staff is trained in the Jeta core values like treating residents as extended family members and providing service with joy and compassion.  Jeta Care pride themselves as an ideal home for seniors from diverse cultural and language backgrounds as the staff understands the local culture and more than one Chinese dialect or Asian language.  To ensure that residents receive the best attention, the building has a 24-hour nurse-call-system with easily accessible call buttons for any emergencies.

To encourage resident and family interaction, the rooftop garden is linked to a multi-purpose hall with a library and recreational activities like watching television and karaoke singing.  While the grassy rooftop is ideal for outdoor exercise and barbecues, there is even an elevated plot for residents to enjoy gardening comfortably.  The building is also equipped with WiFi hotspots for wireless high-speed internet access.

Resident, Mdm Kon Tai, 93,  [Seated Left] with her family at Jeta Care
Resident, Mrs Smith Macrae Moh Allison, 74,  [Centre]
with Tan Soo Kim [Right] and a friend
Rooftop garden created for outdoor activities
Curry Laksa served at Jeta Cafe

As more senior citizens decide to spend their golden years comfortably in professionally-run senior communities, Tan aims to make Jeta Care the “Hilton of senior care centres” in Malaysia.  “When I see the smiling faces of the residents, it is all worth it,” he added.

Jeta Care is located at No. 1, 2 & 3 Jalan Susur 1, Taman Seraya, Kulai Besar, 81000 Kulaijaya.  Tel: 607 – 6636 888, Fax: 607 – 6633 669.  Website: www.jetacare.com

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Johor Streets on 13 June 2012

Feedback Received

A. Ruby said: Hey Peggy, saw the 2nd of your articles on Jeta Care today. Wonderful! The last few years, I have been thinking about this concept - next to a church. Not somewhere that it’s isolated and away from the action.  So it’s nice to read that it can be done in this part of Malaysia!

Good Morning Peggy,

A wonderful published blog!

You have provided a great service to an outstanding man and family.


Peter C. Hennessy FAICD CPA ACIS
Executive Director/Company Secretary
Jeta Gardens
Australia's first retirement & aged care resort based on eastern values                              

27 Clarendon Avenue
Bethania QLD 4205 Australia
P O Box 475 Waterford QLD 4133 Australia                                                                 

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