Home / Regular Issue / JSSH Vol. 31 (1) Mar. 2023 / JSSH-8644-2022


Active Engagement and Health Status of Older Malaysians: Evidence from a Household Survey

Jane Kimm Lii Teh, Nai Peng Tey, Siow Li Lai and Nur Airena Aireen Azman

Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, Volume 31, Issue 1, March 2023

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47836/pjssh.31.1.13

Keywords: Active engagement, ageing, exercise, religious and community activities, self-rated health

Published on: 17 March 2023

Malaysia is undergoing rapid age structural shift to becoming an ageing nation by 2030 when 14% of its population will be aged 60 and over. Population ageing strains the healthcare system due to the rapid rise in non-communicable diseases and poses enormous challenges in providing social protection. Health promotion can ameliorate these twin problems through the active engagement of older adults in the labour force and social activities. This paper used data from the 2014 Malaysian Population and Family Survey (MPFS) to study the factors associated with active engagement in social and economic activities, and the health status of older adults. The survey covered a nationally representative sample of 4,039 older Malaysians aged 60 and over. SPSS was used to perform bivariate and multivariate analyses. About one-quarter of older Malaysians are still working, and three-quarters participate in religious activities, but a small proportion is involved in NGO/community activities and regular exercise. Males are more active than females in all these activities. The majority perceived themselves to be in good or moderately good health. Active participation in social, economic, religious, and physical activities was positively associated with health. Given the relatively low level of labour force participation and social activities among older Malaysians, there is a need for intervention strategies to encourage and facilitate the active engagement of older adults to reduce their health problems and increase self-reliance for a better quality of life.

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