AUREL SANCTUARY : A Lifestyle for the Golden Years
With the nearby mountain range, lush greenery and absence of traffic noise, it is easy to see why Aurel Sanctuary would appeal to retirees. But make no mistake, this is not an old folks home or a nursing home. In fact, says Chong, it is the first of its kind in Malaysia.
“Aurel Sanctuary is an innovative pioneer development that aims to fulfil the needs of Malaysia’s silver generation by providing a holistic approach to growing old. It is open to those aged 50 and above for long-term stay.
“The development boasts the symbol AU, which represents gold on the periodic table of the elements. It is translated from the Latin word ‘aureus’, which means gilded and golden, a precious treasure,” he explains.
When Chong and his team started working on the project in 2013, the first thing they did was to look at the challenges faced by seniors citizens — accessibility, mobility and finding meaningful things to do, among others.
“What do seniors want? Age-friendly designs, products and services. A tight-knit social circle with people who can accept them. They want convenience and safety. They want high-quality daily living. And that is what Aurel Sanctuary will offer them,” says Chong.
At a 45-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur, Aurel Sanctuary is located 1,500ft above sea level. It comprises two 23-storey towers called Amity and Bliss, which will have a built-up of either 1,006 sq ft or 1,175 sq ft.
Aurel Sanctuary is the brainchild of Chong, who is the former managing director of Malton Bhd. Sitting on the board are chairman Datuk Rosie Tan, chief operating officer Gerard Tan, chief technical officer Wong Chee Weng, executive director Sunny Lai and Chong.
Rosie is the group CEO of Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd while Gerard was formerly with OSK Property Holdings Bhd and Glomac Bhd. Lai was the valuation director of Jones Lang Wootton and Wong has over 31 years of construction experience.
“Our team is well versed in property development. In the beginning, we needed financiers, so we talked to a number of developers. Many of them just wanted to know the bottom line and how long it would take them to get a return on their investment because they have the mindset of a developer.
“Then we presented our ideas to Rosie and she told me, ‘I like your passion and this is something we need to do for Malaysians.’ She has been on board with us since and is very passionate about the project,” says Chong.
On the advisory board are Cardiac Vascular Sentral Kuala Lumpur consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Tan Sri Dr Yahya Awang; TVM Capital Healthcare Partners senior adviser, Singhealth and Singapore General Hospital ex-deputy CEO, Karen Tay; Melbourne-based Independent Management Group (IMG) former managing director and founder Susan Malone; and ZICO Law Network — a network of independent law firms in the Asean region in association with ZICO Group — chairman Chew Seng Kok.
Chong says that by 2030, Malaysia will become an ageing nation. While other countries have begun preparations for their ageing population, Malaysia has not, he adds.
“We Asians work very hard and are thrifty but we can’t find high-quality living. It’s not about having the best car or the most luxurious dwellings. A condo may be luxurious and well located but that doesn’t mean it is age-friendly. High-quality living also means having activities that will continue to stimulate your mind, a place where you can enjoy the environment,” Chong points out.
Aurel Sanctuary’s mission is to be a lifestyle resort for seniors with sustainable and purpose-built facilities for ageing in place and continuum of care. Its target market comprises high-net-worth people who want the finer things in life.
There are three components to Aurel Sanctuary — manifest happiness, conserve health and build a legacy.
“These days, if a person is disciplined and health-conscious, he or she can live up to 80 or 90 years old. If you retire at 60, what are you going to do from then? At the peak age of between 60 and 80 years, it is important to stay active.
“Being happy is one of the most important things in life. In our Aurel Sanctuary community, we want to create a vibrant space with activities and programmes where ‘resort guests’ can interact and be happy. These will be activities that will stimulate their bodies, mind and soul, and immerse them in culture and experiences they will enjoy,” says Chong.
The resort will have tie-ups with programme providers to equip itself with tools to engage its residents, including the Ageing Mastery Programme core curriculum, a signature programme by the US National Council on the Ageing and University of the Third Age, an international movement that focuses on the education and stimulation of retired people.
“The Ageing Mastery Programme prepares people for ageing and to enjoy their lives. It focuses on eight central areas — exercise, sleep, diet, relationships, finance, time, community and safety. For example, sleep management will help the elderly who find it hard to sleep and relationship management can help multigenerational communication.
“There is also financial management, where we will have classes to teach you how to manage your finances on a passive income and do a stimulation on what happens if you live up to 90. We will look at a person’s objective in life and see how we can use this programme to make them realise it,” says Chong, adding that the University of the Third Age is a way of encouraging a retired person to learn something new in a more systematic and discipline way.
“If you want to learn oil painting or the history of Malaysia, we will get someone to come and give a talk over several weeks and you will get a certificate upon completion. This started in France and was popularised by the British. In Malaysia, it is led by Universiti Putra Malaysia.”
Second on the list is conserving one’s health. Each resort guest will be given a gadget to monitor their heart rate and body temperature, among other things.
“We are developing the gadget with a few parties. As heart attack is the No 1 killer in Malaysia, a gadget like this provides early detection. The data from the gadget will sync with your central monitoring system and with your permission, doctors, dieticians and trainers will have access to your health data.
“Even the food you consume can be entered into the system. With the data we have, we can look at your health or diet objectively and see what works or does not work for you. Your children can access the information anywhere in the world,” says Chong.
Passing on knowledge to the younger generation and building a legacy are things close to Chong’s heart.
“Most people, by the time they retire, would have worked 40 to 50 years of their lives. If they don’t pass down all the knowledge, skills and experiences to the younger generation, that will be gone forever. We have a programme for people to find meaning and purpose in life after retirement where they can participate to help young people and impart their knowledge. They can be volunteers, advisers, consultants or mentors,” he explains.
Aurel Sanctuary will have a 24-hour clinic, care coordinator and emergency response. It will work closely with health and wellness provider iHeal, which has a boutique hospital in Mid Valley City.
There will also be special rates for other hospitals, such as Prince Courts, for their services.
It is also important for Aurel Sanctuary to be part of the local community.
“We want to create business opportunities and employment for the locals in Bukit Tinggi, and support the organic farmers,” says Chong.
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