+ General Country Information
+ History
+ Concept of Time
+ Family and friends
+ Gender
+ I or We Attitudes
+ Manners and Taboos
+ Spiritual care
+ Communication Style
+ Greetings
+ Language and Communication
+ Non-verbal Communication - Eye contact
+ Non-verbal Communication - Gestures
+ Non-verbal Communication - Personal Space
+ Attitudes and understanding of dementia and other health issues
+ Attitudes to end of life care
+ Attitudes to pain
+ Attitudes to residential care
+ Care information
+ Cultural Activities
+ Cultural Traits
+ Food and Diet
+ Music
+ Special Days - Christmas
+ Special Days - Easter
+ Special Days - New Year
+ Special Days - Other
+ Superstitions

Compare with another culture

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Australian

Chinese

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Dutch

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German

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Hungarian

Indian

Italian

Malaysian

Maltese

Maori

Nepalese

New Zealander

Polish

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Spanish

Sri Lankan

Ukrainian

Vietnamese

Generalist

  • Malaysia is located in the continent of Asia.
  • The capital of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur.
  • Malaysia shares land borders with the following three countries; Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand.  The maritime boundaries include; Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam.
  • Malaysia is the 67th biggest country in the world with a size of 329,847 sq km (including land and sea) (Central Intelligence Agency, 2015).
  • The population of Malaysia is approximately 30,513,848 people (Central Intelligence Agency, 2015).
  • The major ethnic groups in Malaysia include: Malay 50.1%, Chinese 22.6%, indigenous 11.8%, Indian 6.7% (Central Intelligence Agency, 2010).
  • The climate of Malaysia is tropical. It is hot and humid throughout the year with annual monsoons in the southwest (from May to September) and northeast with heavier rain (from October to March).

Tips

  • Understand that a person’s country of birth does not define their culture. Whilst we are “born into culture” we are not “born with culture”. A person’s “culture” is something that is learnt from our environment and by our individual experiences. It continuously adapts to our changing circumstances throughout our lives.
  • Determine what culture or cultures your care recipient identifies with.
  • Keep in mind that the culture in metropolitan areas varies with culture in rural areas and that culture in different regions within a country may also vary significantly.
  • Learn about your care recipient’s life history, and who they identify with, to determine their individual cultural traits. Document any significant details.
  • Understand how your care recipient’s culture informs their values, behaviours, beliefs assumptions, likes, dislikes and sensitivities.

Resources

Generalist

History of Migration to Australia

  • Malaysian have a long history in Australia.
  • The colonial census records collected indicate that in 1871 there were 149 Malaysian born people living in Australia and by the year 1901, there were 932 Malaysian-born in Australia.
  • Many early Malaysian migrants found work in the South Australian mines, the pearling industry and the cane fields of North Queensland.
  • A significant intake of Malaysians happened during the 1950’s, in the post-war period, as part of the Colombo Plan. This provided approximately 17,000 students with temporary residency.
  • After the Immigration Restriction Act officially ended in 1973, the number of students continued to increase and many became permanent residents after completing their studies.
  • Malaysian Government policies in the late 1960’s, along with race riots and unfavourable socio-political conditions, resulted in further migration from Malaysia to Australia.
  • Large numbers of Malaysian arrived in Australia after 1981, under Family, Skilled or Business visas.
  • The Malaysia-born population in Australia is approximately 116, 196 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011).

History of Malaysia

  • Refer to History Resources

Tips

  • Determine exactly where your care recipient was born and where they lived. For example; was your care recipient born in Australia, or did they migrate to Australia? If they migrated, how and why did your care recipient migrate to Australia? What experiences and associations do they have of their home country? If they have lived in other countries; where have they lived? How long did they spend in other countries and what did they do whilst they were there?
  • Be aware and sensitive to any stress that may have been experienced as a result of their history (this may include; family separation, homesickness, conflict, depression and isolation).
  • The knowledge of a person’s history may assist with a better understanding of the care recipient as well as any associated psychological issues resulting from their past.
  • Understand how your care recipient’s culture informs their values, behaviours, beliefs assumptions, likes, dislikes and sensitivities and document any significant details.

Resources

Generalist

  • Malaysia is defined as a “collectivist” culture.
  • This means that Malaysians act primarily in the interests of the group (The Hofstede Centre).
  • Malaysia scores 26 on the Individualism versus Collectivism (IDV) index. (Hofstede centre).
  • The index scale ranges from 0-100 with 50 as a mid-level. The low numbers indicate “collectivist” cultures, and high numbers indicate “individualist” cultures.

Tips

  • Identify and document if your care recipient is an “individualist” with an “I” attitude of self and immediate family, or a “collectivist” with a “we” or group attitude, or if they have both “collectivist” and “individualist” traits.
  • Allow for a “collectivist” person to feel the comfort of doing most things in a group setting and for an “individualist” person to have more opportunities for themselves.

Resources

Generalist

In Malaysia

  • The official religion is Muslim (61% of the population) and Sunni Islam is the predominant religion amongst Malays.
  • Other prominent religions include: Buddhism 19%, Christianity 9%, Hinduism 6%, Taoism (Central Intelligence Agency).

In Australia

  • The main religions of Malaysian-born Australians include: Buddhism, Catholicism, Islam.
  • Most Malaysian Muslims practice Sunni Islam.
  • A small percentage (16.3%) of Malaysian born Australians stated that they do not have a religion (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011).

General

  • As Malaysians age, they tend to engage themselves with religious practices and spirituality for a peaceful mind and to live their aging life with greater meaning. Thus, providing facilities for spiritual wellbeing is important.
  • Different cultures and religions have different expectations of care in regards to toileting, dressing and feeding.
  • Every culture and religion vary greatly in spiritual needs and this may impact on the acceptability of certain treatments and medications. Therefore, it is paramount to identify the care recipient’s religion and cultural background to appropriately address the supports and services required.
  • For further information, refer to Spiritual care resources.

Tips

  • Accept and respect that customs, religious and spiritual beliefs vary from one culture to another and that the beliefs of your care recipient may significantly differ to your own beliefs.
  • Utilise resources and attend training sessions to increase your own knowledge about different religious and spiritual beliefs.
  • It is useful to ask care recipients a range of questions such as; ‘what helps you cope in difficult times’ and ‘what is important to you’ to determine ways to enhance their care.
  • Be aware of the significance of spiritual needs to your care recipient. Identify and document their religious beliefs and spiritual needs such as; any special requirements regarding food, personal care, linguistic needs or religious impacts towards treatments and/or medication.
  • Identify and provide access to relevant religious literature, radio, TV, live stream services, DVDs and CDs.
  • Support care recipients to maintain religious networks and religious representation and facilitate outings to places of worship.
  • Acknowledge and observe days of religious significance to your care recipients in a culturally appropriate manner.

Resources

Generalist

  • Family is important in Malaysian culture and the extended family has a significant role.
  • Family is considered a place where support, including emotional and financial support, is guaranteed.
  • Most Malaysians have a traditional family structure, which is hierarchical and patriarchal and they hold a great emphasis on unity, loyalty and respect for the elderly.
  • For most Malaysians, it is unthinkable to venture on anything without first consulting an older person.
  • Traditionally, adult-children provide care for their aged-parents at home (this is influenced greatly by “filial piety” ethics). This expectation of care is also common from elderly Malaysians that have been sponsored to Australia to care for their grandchildren.
  • Care expectations of family members may cause conflict for a number of reasons. Many children are working full time in order to provide for their own families and are unable to provide full care for their parents. Intergenerational conflict may also occur between Malaysian elderly and Australian born children and their grandchildren, due to differences in values and expectations.
  • When working with a Malaysian care-recipient and their family, it is important to understand each family’s dynamics, particularly in decisions about the recipient’s care. For example; if each decision must first be consulted with their elders.

Tips

  • Be aware and sensitive to the fact that some people may have become separated from family for a range of reasons including; Stolen Generations, war, conflict, disaster or migration.
  • Families and friends from different cultures will have a different understanding of dementia and their expectation of care for their loved one may vary significantly.
  • Provide communication and information in accordance with their language and literacy level and facilitate all achievable care expectations.
  • Gain an understanding of the dynamics of your care recipient’s family and friends and engage with them whenever required/needed.
  • Ensure that roles in decision-making about care of the person with dementia have been clearly established and documented.
  • Research indicates that carers of people living with dementia experience greater strain and distress than carers of other people.
  • It is important to be sensitive to the feelings of shame and guilt that family members and friends may be experiencing.

“Family and friends” resources

  • A range of information to help support family and friends is available in the “Family and friends, resources” section below.
  • A range of health information helpsheets in various languages are available in the “Language and communication, resources” section of this app.

Resources

Generalist

Australia

  • In Australia, Malaysia-born people mainly speak English, Mandarin and Cantonese at home. (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011).
  • The majority speak English well or very well (92.6 %), whilst approximately 6.5% do not speak English well or at all (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011).
  • Language barriers can however cause issues for some Malaysian elderly, particularly those with Chinese ethnicity, such as reliance on translations from family members and feelings of being unable to fully participate as equal members of the community.
  • Due to low literacy levels in some pockets of the Malaysian community in Australia, some may prefer to be provided with information verbally.

Malaysia

  • The national language in Malaysia is Malay (also known as “Bahasa Malaysia” and “Bahasa Melayu”).
  • Due to the diversity in Malaysia, there are a large number of languages spoken in the country (approximately 112 indigenous and 22 non-indigenous). Many of these languages and dialects and not mutually understood.
  • Malay is also spoken by Malaysians living in the Malay Peninsula, Philippines, Singapore, Southern Thailand, Central Eastern Sumatra, the Riau islands,  parts of the Coast of Borneo, Cocos and the Christmas Islands in Australia (Kwintessential, 2016).

Tips

  • Being able to communicate effectively is crucial to the physical and emotional well-being of the care recipient.
  • Be careful not to underestimate or assume the communication capacity of a person with dementia.
  • Ensure that the care recipient has participation in decisions that affect them.
  • The words you use when speaking to, and about, a person with dementia matters. It is important to always use positive and enabling language and to not use words that may cause offense.
  • Ensure the health care and personal care plans and reviews identify and support the linguistic needs of your care recipient and their family.  Be mindful that linguistic considerations should include the care recipients’ menu choices, food services, their religious and spiritual needs, and their ability to participate in activities. Determine what language(s) they are able to speak, read and write. Communicate with them and provide information according to their language preference and literacy level.
  • Identify and record and health issues such as poor hearing, poor eyesight, dehydration or problems with dentures to ensure there is no miscommunication with your care recipient.
  • Be aware that most people with dementia will revert back to their native tongue and/or other languages they have learnt.
  • Care recipients should always be given the choice to use professional translators and interpreters. Provide professional translators and interpreters to your care recipients and/or to their family whenever they request the need, when the care plan is developed, when the care plan is reviewed and at any time when “informed consent” is required.
  • Care recipients often prefer to communicate with a care worker from their own cultural background therefore the use of bilingual staff or volunteers should be always be considered and provided whenever possible. The care recipient should however be given this choice rather than it be assumed that this is their preference.
  • Provide visual aids, use gestures and physical prompts, and learn and use key words in the person’s own language to improve communication during routine care and other simple service interventions.
  • Ensure that communication is adapted to the care recipient’s level of dementia and understand the importance of allowing more time for those in later stages to understand and respond to you.
  • Support your care recipients' individual choices by providing access to media such as radio, TV, live stream services, DVDs, CDs and books in their preferred language.
  • All staff and volunteers should undertake training in cultural awareness, appropriate communication and the correct use of telephone and on-site interpreting services.

Language and Communication resources

  • Refer to the “Language and Communication, Resources” section below for a wide range of information (including communication cards, signage, health information in community languages, etc.)
  • Translating and Interpreter contact details and other relevant information is available in the "Links, Translating and Interpreting" section. 

Advice and Support

  • Seek advice and support from the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) if required – phone 1800 699 799.

Resources

Generalist

  • Greetings differ depending on the ethnicity of those involved.
  • In Malaysia there are three major ethnicities (Chinese, Indian and Malay).
  • For all three ethnicities, introduction protocols are used, starting with the most important person to the lowest ranking person, the oldest to the youngest and women followed by men.
  • Malay – use the “salam” greeting which resembles a double-handed shake but without grasping. This greeting involves offering both hands, lightly touching the other person’s hands and then bringing the hands to the chest. This symbolises “greeting from the heart”. The other person then reciprocates the “salam” greeting. For further information, refer to the Greetings resources section.
  • The salam greeting is not common outside the Malay community, so in other situations a simple handshake is generally the norm.
  • Indians – use the “Namaste” greeting. This greeting is spoken with a slight bow, hands pressed together, palms touching, thumbs close to the chest and fingers pointing upwards. For further information, refer to the Greetings resources section.
  • Malaysians tend to smile a lot and welcome greetings from others that include a smile.

The following Malay greetings are most commonly used amongst the three ethnicities:

Man greeting man

  • Chinese men shake hands.
  • Indian men shake hands, and also use the “namaste” greeting.
  • Malay men shake hands and say “salaam”, followed by a slight bow.

Woman greeting woman

  • Chinese women use a light handshake, or a nod.
  • Indian women use a handshake and also the “namaste” greeting.
  • Malay women use a handshake and also use the “salaam” with a slight bow.

Man greeting woman

  • For all three Malay ethnicities, you should wait for the woman to initiate the greeting.
  • A light handshake may be used, or a slight nod or bow may be used instead.

General introductions:

Chinese

  • For Chinese, men and women may shake hands (this may be for an extended period of time).
  • Women extend their hand first.
  • As a sign of respect, older Chinese people usually lower their eyes when greeting.

Indians

  • Indian men shake hands with other men, and women shake hands with other women.
  • When meeting someone of the opposite gender, they generally just smile and nod (Kwintessential, 2016).

Malay

  • The handshake is generally the norm, however as Islam prohibits non-essential touching and physical contact with a person of the opposite gender,
  • Muslim women may not shake hands with men, and men may also not shake hands with women.
  • It is important to respect and accommodate that Muslims do not distinguish this matter between Muslim and non-Muslim people.
  • The traditional “salam” may be used (usually between friends).

Names

  • Naming conventions vary between the Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnicities.

Traditional Chinese names

  • Chinese have three names, their family name and two personal names.
  • The family name comes first, followed by their personal names.
  • Chinese people often adopt Western names, especially if they are living in a western country and they may prefer these to be used instead of their traditional Chinese names (Kwintessential, 2016).

Traditional Indian names

  • Indians do not use surnames and instead adopt their parent’s name.
  • A man’s formal name is their name ‘s/o’ (son of) their father’s name.
  • A woman’s formal name is their name ‘d/o’ (daughter of) their father’s name.

Traditional Malay names

  • Malay people do not have surnames. Instead, males add their father’s name and females add their mother’s name to their name.
  • A man will use their name and then the term “bin”, which means “son of”, for example; Rosli bin Suelan, means Rosli, the son of Suelan.
  • A woman will use their name and then the term “bint”, which means “daughter of”, for example Aysha bint Suelan, means Aysha, the daughter of Suelan (Kwintessential, 2016).

Tips

  • Start building trust and rapport from the first time you meet your care recipient. Ensure you correctly pronounce their name. Smile and speak clearly. Be respectful and make sure the care recipient understands you.
  • Establish and document how your care recipient prefers to be greeted. Take into account; formality, titles, preferred name(s), any different greeting expectations from different genders or from people from a different generation, and the way(s) they like and dislike to be greeted. 
  • Understand that a person with severe dementia will think that each time they see you during the day is for the first time. Therefore ensure that you greet them in an appropriate, friendly and caring manner each time you meet.

Language and Communication resources

  • Translating and Interpreter contact details and other relevant information is available in the "Links, Translating and Interpreting" section. 

Advice and Support

  • Seek advice and support from the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) if required – phone 1800 699 799.

Resources

Generalist

  • Malaysians aim to maintain harmony with others.
  • Their communication style is very indirect and they may instead hint rather than clearly state their intentions. This can make it difficult to understand what they actually mean. For example, to save face and maintain harmony in the relationship they may say “I will try” rather than say “no”.
  • Rephrasing questions can help reveal whether a response was given to save face or avoid letting others down.
  • Silence is an important component of Malaysian communication and it is common for Malaysians to pause and consider their response before answering a question.
  • Many Malaysians consider quick and hasty responses as being thoughtless and rude.
  • It is common for Malaysian people to ask personal questions as a way of gaining rapport.
  • Malaysians may laugh at what may be considered the wrong time. However, this is usually done to cover uneasiness.
  • Anger is not usually expressed in public within Malaysian culture as it disturbs harmony and can create feelings of powerlessness (Kwintessential, 2016).

Tips

Care recipient

  • Identify the communication style of your care recipient.
  • Be aware that communication styles vary from one culture to another.
  • Realise that physical, sensory, psychological and social issues can impact on the ability to communicate effectively. Make a note of any that are relevant to your care recipient.

Care worker

  • To ensure that the care recipient can understand you avoid speaking too quickly or using slang, acronyms or jargon. Also try not to give too much information at one time.
  • Be aware not to use patronising speech or a demeaning tone as this can lead to a communication breakdown.
  • Remember than non-verbal communication such as body language is just as important as verbal communication. Ensure that your tone matches your body language to avoid miscommunication.
  • Be kind and caring in your communication with the care recipient. Remember the person with dementia has a lifetime of experiences and is a person with feelings, even though may have lost the capacity to think or behave like they used to.

Language and Communication resources

  • Translating and Interpreter contact details and other relevant information is available in the "Links, Translating and Interpreting" section. 

Advice and Support

  • Seek advice and support from the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) if required – phone 1800 699 799.

Resources

Generalist

  • Malaysians usually favour direct eye contact over indirect when speaking with someone of the same gender.
  • Malaysians usually favour indirect eye contact over direct when speaking with someone of the opposite gender, particularly amongst Muslims and when females are speaking with men.
  • Staring may be considered as suspicious and threatening.

Tips

  • Determine and document if the care recipient prefers direct or indirect eye contact and if there are any different expectations from different genders or from people from a different generation.

Resources

Generalist

  • Malaysians use a lot of non-verbal communication gestures such as facial expressions, tone of voice, body language etc.
  • They can be quite animated when they are talking and they often use a lot of hand gesturing.
  • A smile or laugh by a Malaysian can signify various meanings, including; surprise, anger, shock, embarrassment or happiness.
  • Malaysians usually prefer limited or no physical contact.
  • Hugging and kissing in public is considered inappropriate.
  • Crossing legs and pointing the foot at the individual is considered to be insulting.
  • Patting someone on the head, gesture by pointing, or putting your feet on a table are also considered rude.
  • Keeping your hands in pockets may be interpreted as a sign of anger by a Malaysian.
  • Care workers should avoid using left hand with Muslim care-recipient as the "Koran states the right hand is more honourable.

Tips

  • Any gestures you use need to be respectful to the person with dementia.
  • Body language can provide important clues and increased understanding for both the carer and the care recipient. However many gestures have different meanings in different cultures therefore take care to ensure there is no miscommunication.
  • Document any gestures that the care recipient prefers to use or any gestures they find offensive.
  • Determine if the care recipient has expectations from different genders or from people from a different generation in relation to the use of touch. For example; if they find it appropriate/comforting for someone to hold their hand when they are upset or in pain.

Resources

Generalist

  • Personal space is required when conversing with most Malaysians.
  • Malaysians usually have a preference of about an arm’s length of personal space.
  • Personal space between friends and close acquaintances may be closer.
  • Touching during conversation does not usually happen between men and women. There may be light touch between friends and close acquaintances of the same sex.

Tips

  • Determine and document how the care recipient feels about their personal space and if there are any different expectations from different genders or from people from a different generation.
  • Allow for a “collectivist” person (with a “we” or group attitude) to feel the comfort of doing most things in the space with others (group settings) and for an “individualist” person (with an “I” attitude of self and immediate family) to have opportunities to have personal space for themselves.

Resources

Generalist

  • Malaysians of Indian and Malay ethnicity are generally not punctual. Instead, they tend to practice flexibility with time.
  • Malaysians of Chinese ethnicity are usually punctual and expect punctuality.
  • In Malaysia the bus, train, and plane schedules will be adhered to for the most part, however showing up a little late to a party or function is quite common.

Muslim Malaysians

  • When scheduling an event or family meeting with a Malaysian Muslim care-recipient and/or their family, one must take into consideration the importance of prayer times.
  • Fridays are a particularly religious day of the week for Muslims, so if possible meetings should not be scheduled on this day.

Tips

  • Determine and document how the care recipient and the family view “the concept of time”. For example; do they like to be punctual? Do they expect others to be punctual?
  • Ensure the care recipient's concept of time does not adversely impact on meal times, activities and other scheduled events.
  • Be mindful that shaming and blaming someone for being late can cause feelings of guilt and low self-esteem. Instead, use positive communication. For example; you might ask “Would a different time would be more suitable"?

Resources

Generalist

  • Malaysia has a patriarchal social, where men are considered most dominant.
  • The official religion in Malaysia is Islam and as such women typically follow religious requirements such as avoiding revealing clothing and heavy make-up.

Global Gender Gap Index 2016 rankings

  • Malaysia was ranked 106th on a global index measuring gender equality out of 144 countries. (World Economic Forum, Global Gender Gap Report 2016).

Same Sex Relationships

  • There are no forms of legally recognized same-sex relationships in Malaysia.
  • Malaysia is one of 72 countries that has criminal laws against sexual activity by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people (LGBTIs), (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, or ILGA).

Marriage

  • In Malaysia, there are two ways that a person may get married;
  1. registering the union with the government; or
  2. joining in marriage before a religious authority (2016 Advameg Inc).       
  • Christian Malaysians are permitted to marry Buddhists or Hindus in Malaysia (2016 Advameg, Inc).  
  • Muslim Malaysians who marry non-Muslims in Malaysia risk government sanction unless their partner converts to Islam (2016 Advameg, Inc).                                                     

Family relations

  • There are civil, customary (Adat) and Syariah (Islamic) laws that govern family relations in Malaysia.
  • The Malaysian dual legal system governs Muslim and non-Muslim personal laws separately.
  • Muslim religious issues are managed by each of the separate 13 Malay States.
  • In Malaysia, polygamy is illegal for non-Muslims, but Muslim men are allowed up to four wives with the court’s permission in accordance with Islamic Law.

Tips

  • For many people with dementia the gender of the care workers is important, particularly in sensitive situations. Determine and document if they have any preferences, concerns or expectations regarding care provided by someone of a different gender.
  • Accept and respect that male-female roles in families may vary significantly among different cultures.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersexed (LGBTI) people with dementia

  • Don’t assume the gender preference of the person with dementia.
  • Recognise that even those that have children may not be completely heterosexual and understand that it could take some time for a care recipient to gain enough trust to share personal information about their gender preference.
  • Begin by evaluating yourself and any assumptions, phobias, biases or beliefs that you might hold internally.
  • Utilise resources and attend training sessions to increase your own knowledge about LGBTI people.
  • Understand the importance of your first and immediate reaction or response. Be aware of your own reactions - not only what you think, but also be aware of what you say and what body language you use.
  • Most LGBTI people have experienced rejection, stigma, discrimination and abuse and therefore have a fear of receiving inadequate treatment, being denied services or facing further discrimination or prejudice. It is vitally important to create a non-judgmental open and caring atmosphere free from discrimination. Confidentiality is also a vital aspect of care for LGBTI care recipients.
  • Be careful with the terminology you use to the care recipient and their partners.
  • Provide partners of LGBTI care recipients with the same respect and privileges that you would give to a spouse or relative.      

Resources

Generalist

World Alzheimer’s Day

  • Alzheimer associations around the world unite for World Alzheimer’s Day on the 21st of September, to make a difference for people with dementia and their families and carers worldwide.

Dementia in Malaysia

  • The prevalence of dementia in Malaysia was 0.063% in 2005, with an annual incidence rate of 0.02%, (Alzheimer’s Disease International).
  • Malaysians of different socio-cultural background understand and accept dementia differently.
  • Awareness, and stigma of dementia are however major challenges in Malaysia.
  • Similar to other parts of Asia, Malaysians often view dementia is as a normal part of ageing, rather than a specific disease that needs treatment.
  • The general lack of understanding of dementia has been found to delay the process of caregivers seeking medical advice for dementia.
  • In most Malaysian cultures, a confirmed diagnosis of dementia would confront the care-recipients with the humiliation of being negatively judged.
  • The consequence of dementia is commonly dealt with secretly among the adult-children to protect their parents’ dignity, and their own family privacy and reputation.
  • Malaysian social situations and cultural beliefs, reveal dementia to be a “hidden” condition because it is regarded as shameful.

Malay ethnicity

  • In the Malay culture, dementia or “nyanyuk” (closest English equivalent being “senility”) is negatively judged as reflecting the aged persons’ unpleasant personality or bad past actions.
  • Because spirituality in the Malay community shapes their thinking and attitudes, many internalise the spiritual belief that, “nyanyuk” is “God’s retribution to past conduct”.

Chinese ethnicity

  • For some Malaysians with Chinese ethnicity, dementia is stigmatised as a form of mental illness while others consider it as a normal part of ageing.
  • The Chinese community is accepting of the modern medicine for treatment of dementia, but the medications may be combined with traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Chinese herbs, acupuncture and cupping are commonly used for a range of illnesses and may result in bruising so it is important not to mistake these for signs of abuse.

Tips

  • The amount of understanding and acceptance of dementia may vary significantly among different cultures, families and individuals. Determine the understanding of dementia of the care recipient and their family, if they accept dementia and if stigma is associated.
  • Provide information to the care recipient and their family according to their language preference and literacy level.
  • Ensure that people with dementia and their families are aware of dementia information and of support services available.

Dementia resources

  • A wide range of information is available in the Attitudes and understanding of dementia disability and illness, resources section below.
  • Contact details for Alzheimer’s Australia offices are available in the “Links, Alzheimer’s Australia offices” section of this app.

Advice and Support

  • Seek advice and support from the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) if required – phone 1800 699 799.

Resources

Generalist

  • Most Malaysians have negative perceptions of long term care facilities and residential care is traditionally associated as “being in a pitiful place”.
  • The Malaysian elderly relate residential facilities to isolation, as well as to the loss of; privacy, dignity, the rights to choose, and independence.
  • Malaysian culture expects elderly parents to be cared for by their family.
  • There is a strong social rule about familial parental-care amongst Malaysian families and their dutifulness protects their personal reputation and their families’ solidarity.  
  • There is also a great deal of adversity in discussing residential care living.
  • Malaysian children or family members who aren't looking after their family members often fear being labelled “bad, disobedient, and/or ungrateful” by the community, due to these cultural care views.
  • Therefore, residential aged care is still perceived negatively and considered as a last resort.

In Malaysia

  • Aged Care facilities in Malaysia are in the early stages of development and retirement aged care in the country are mostly owned and run either by charitable organisations or by private companies.
  • Children, other family members, neighbours and organisations like the Salvation Army, are all considered to have a duty to care for the Malaysian elderly.
  • Taking good care of the elderly is of great importance in the Malaysian community, therefore every effort is made to give residents individual attention that meets their daily needs and they are encouraged to keep up their interests, hobbies and have social supports, so that a meaningful life is maintained.

Tips

  • The meaning or value of residential or community care may vary greatly among cultures.
  • Be aware that many people will not want to hear about or talk about residential care until crisis point.
  • Understand that families and friends from different cultures will have different expectations for the care of people, particularly in regards to toileting, dressing, feeding and other self-help skills.
  • Allow the care recipient and their family to make choices to suit the individual’s care needs.
  • Ask care recipients questions about what can be done to achieve quality of life and help them have meaningful lives that enable them to pursue their cultural interests and passions in accordance with any frailty, disability or cognitive impairment.
  • Understand and facilitate all achievable care expectations of the care recipient and their family.

Resources

Generalist

  • Buddhists may show stoicism when it comes to pain. This is related to cultural values around self-conduct.
  • Preserving harmony and not drawing attention to oneself is considered important and although pain or sadness may be experienced, it is often not displayed.
  • Some Malaysians consider those in the medical profession hold a high status and therefore they do not want to question them or burden them with their complaints of pain or discomfort. (Dimensions in Culture, 2011).
  • Status differences may also exist between people based on other variables such as age, gender and education impacting how a Malaysian care recipient expresses their pain.
  • Pain behaviour studies suggest there is a need to be cautious of ethnic or cultural stereotypes. Therefore, even though there are findings of general cultural differences it is considered very important to evaluate the pain of each person individually.
  • Clinical recommendations regarding pain treatment are available in the “Attitudes to pain Resources” section of this app.

Tips

  • Research indicates that pain and discomfort are frequently under reported and under treated amongst people with dementia.
  • Ensure care recipients and their family understand pain relief medication and treatment options by providing information in their preferred language and in accordance with their language ability.
  • Religion and culture may influence your care recipients pain experience including; their pain expression, pain language, remedies for pain, social roles and expectations and perceptions of the medical care system.
  • Understand that for some religious or spiritual beliefs, fate and/or karma may mean that your care recipient also believes their illness and pain are caused by a higher power.
  • Care recipients may feel it is important to accept their pain in order to demonstrate their religious / spiritual faith. This may also impact their request for pain medication and treatment.
  • Identify and support the cultural and religious impact on the acceptability of certain treatments and medications.
  • Identify, respect and document how your care recipient and their family view and express pain.
  • Pay particular attention to verbal expressions of pain during later stages of dementia and ensure adequate treatment is provided.

Resources

Generalist

  • There are varied cultural differences in caring for dying patients from Malaysia as there are various religions that cross languages and cultural boundaries.
  • Examples of basic physical care include; bathing, combing hair, wearing clothes and repositioning.
  • Usually these are the daily routine performed by the caregiver or health care providers. Everyone does these routines as part of the duty of care; however, it might have significant meaning to the person with dementia when it comes to the terminal stage. The simple act of hair combing can represent different things to a person involved in this meaningful action. For example; for a family with Buddhist beliefs, it could demonstrate care and love in action for the person that is dying when the family member feels they can do little else. For another Malaysian family, the same act of hair combing could be more than an act of care and love, it may also be a considered a preparatory ritual as part of the Muslim religion and this may be considered very important to the dying person, as a Muslim.
  • If the dying person is the oldest man in the family, he may not feel comfortable to express his feelings nor to discuss his diagnosis/prognosis openly with the family. For him, to allow family members to comb his hair, he may be allowing himself and the family to prepare for death.
  • A sound understanding of the dying patient’s meaning of end of life care is imperative to truly deliver individualised palliative care.

Tips

  • Understand that attitudes to end of life care, death and dying are diverse and may include a range of factors such as cultural and religious beliefs.
  • Be aware that the acceptance of certain treatments and medications are likely to be impacted upon by cultural and religious factors.
  • Identify and support “end of life choices” of care recipients and their family. Note: these are formally known as “Advanced Care Directives” or “Advanced Care Planning” depending on the state or territory in Australia that you are in. Ensure their choices are documented and strictly followed.
  • Ensure the linguistic needs of care recipients are addressed in end of life religious and spiritual support.
  • Ensure family members have access to appropriate resources and support in their preferred language and in accordance with their language ability.

Resources

Generalist

A Malaysian person may feel the following applies;

  • Giving a slight bow when leaving, entering or passing by people is polite and usually interpreted as "excuse me".
  • The head is considered a sacred part of the body and therefore it is usually considered rude to touch or pass objects over the top of someone’s head.
  • The gesture of pounding a fist into the palm of the other hand may be considered extremely rude. (Multicultural Communities Council of SA and Multicultural Aged Care, 2005).
  • Many Malaysians believe that your right hand should be used to eat, pass things and to touch people (and the left hand should not be used).
  • Moving objects with your feet or pointing at another person with your foot may be considered offensive.
  • It is impolite to beckon adults and the use of a single finger should not be used for gesturing.
  • It is not appropriate for people to display affection in public.

Tips

  • “Manners” and “taboo” expectations and beliefs may vary greatly among cultures resulting in differing emotions and behaviours in your care recipient.
  • Be aware of your own beliefs and expectations of “manners” and “taboo” beliefs and how these may differ to those of your care recipient.
  • Be aware of judging other people's behaviour, expectations and beliefs according to the standards of your own culture.
  • Be aware that the care recipient may judge your behaviour according to the standard of their own culture.
  • It is important to recognise, accept and document individual interpretations of “manners” and “taboo” expectations and beliefs of your care recipient and their family.

Resources

Generalist

There are many beliefs, customs and superstitions in Malaysia including the following:

  • The number four is considered unlucky as it has a similar sound to the Chinese character for “death”. It is not unusual for buildings and house numbers to be known as 3A instead of 4.
  • Eight is a lucky number as the Chinese words for ‘eight’ and ‘prosperity’ are similar. When people have a choice for a number, they will often choose eight. Other lucky numbers include 18, 13, 88 and 168.
  • It is considered bad luck, or even a curse, to receive a clock as a gift, as it is said that the gift giver is counting the seconds to the recipient’s death.
  • Sweeping the house at night and cleaning on New Year’s Day is said to sweep away good luck and bring bad luck.
  • The colours yellow and red represent good fortune.
  • A well-known saying amongst Malaysians with Indian ethnicity, is that you should never allow your plate to dry/cake up after a meal because this will mean that your food supply with soon “dry out”.
  • Sitting on books is forbidden (it is thought this leads to stupidity).
  • You should not shake your legs, as this is seen as shaking away your wealth and prosperity.

Tips

  • Superstitions may be considered as old wives’ tales, family traditions or have a significant meaning and be taken seriously.
  • Be aware of your own beliefs and how these may differ to those of your care recipient.
  • Be aware of judging other people's superstitious beliefs according to the standards of your own culture.
  • Be aware that the care recipient may judge your beliefs according to the standard of their own culture.
  • It is important to recognise, accept and document individual interpretations of superstitious beliefs.

Resources

Generalist

  • Malaysia is a country of diversity and so too is the cuisine.
  • There are elements of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cooking throughout the country as well as traces of western style influences.
  • Rice and noodles are common to all three ethnic cuisines; and spicy dishes are often favourites.
  • The dish many people commonly associated with Malaysia is the beef rending (spicy meat stew), a traditional Malay recipe.
  • Other well-known Malaysian dishes include; roti canai (Indian-influenced flatbread), laksa (a spicy noodle soup), chicken rice, satay and tom yum (hot and sour flavours with fragrant spices and herbs).
  • Tropical fruits grow in abundance in Malaysia and “durian” is a favourite fruit of many locals.

Food preferences and prohibitions

  • Malay dishes need to be halal (allowed to be eaten according to Islamic Sharia law) and therefore may contain beef, chicken, mutton or fish; but never pork.
  • Chinese dishes often contain pork.
  • Indian dishes are often vegetarian; and they never contain beef (as the cow is thought to be sacred and is deeply respected). Some Indians do eat chicken, fish and mutton.
  • Most Malaysian dishes are served with some vegetables, either served as a side dish or mixed through the dish.  

Breakfast                                                                                                                                                       

  • Malaysian breakfast menus vary due to Malaysia's multi-ethnic social fabric as well as the introduction of modern influences.
  • Western-style breakfasts include; cereals, cooked eggs and toast.
  • Traditional breakfast foods include; noodles and rice dishes, especially nasi lemak (Coconut rice, Malaysia’s national dish), Chinese-style congee (a type of rice porridge), dim sum and noodle soups, or Indian-influenced foods, such as; thosai/dosai (crêpe), roti canai (flatbread), etc.

Lunch and dinner

  • Meals may consist of a single dish people dining alone, or rice with many complementary dishes for meals that are shared by many.
  • Food, including appetisers and mains, will arrive at the table whenever it is ready.  

Dining and Entertainment

  • Drinks are offered and accepted with both hands, BUT drinks are generally not served before dinner.
  • Muslims use only their right hand to eat, pass, touch or handle anything. Never use your left hand to eat.
  • Cutlery, many Muslims eat with their right hand, some use cutlery. None Muslim Malaysians mostly use a fork and a spoon, people seldom use a knife, unless the menu is a steak.
  • Cutlery, many Muslims eat with their right hand, some use cutlery. None Muslim Malaysians mostly use a fork and a spoon, people seldom use a knife, unless the menu is a steak. If you are guest in a group including Muslims who eat with their hand, it is appreciated if you try to do the same, and it may help you establish closer & personal ties with them, because you try and show some effort to learn Muslim Customs. If you are not comfortable with this, ask the waiter for a fork & spoon, and it will be arranged for you promptly. If you do try to eat with your RIGHT hand, make sure you wash both hands prior to starting your meal, either by going to the washroom, or use the hand wash bowl placed on the table. Once you finish your food, wash your hand again, using the hand wash bowl placed on the table, or go to the wash room. If you use cutlery, as a Guest when finished, put the fork and the spoon on your plate.
  • Allow the host to order all dishes in a restaurant, unless you are specifically asked to suggest some dishes.
  • Dining out is affordable and very popular in Malaysia.
  • Drinks are generally not served before dinner and when drinks are offered and accepted, it is done with both hands.
  • Muslims only use their right hand to pass, touch, handle or eat anything.
  • Muslim Malaysians mostly use a fork and a spoon. A knife is generally only used for food such as steak.
  • Some Malaysians eat with their hands, especially when eating more traditional food.
  • Hands are washed before and after a meal, either in the bathroom or in a wash bowl located on the table.

Tips

  • Food is an important aspect of cultural identity, therefore it is important to identify food preferences, likes and dislikes including eating habits, meal times, preferred setting, preferred eating utensils etc.
  • Identify and facilitate cultural food when possible and ensure the impact of religion on food services is documented, adhered to and regularly reviewed.
  • Provide menu choices and food services information in the preferred language of care recipients, or with pictures if the person has difficulty reading. 
  • Consider alternative ways to facilitate culturally appropriate food such as; obtaining recipes from family/friends, specific meal delivery services, community groups, seniors’ clubs, or and/or other clubs.
  • Ensure that the care recipient is given food choices throughout all stages of dementia.

Food and diet resources

  • A wide range of information (including religious food requirements, nutrition information and recipes) is available in the “Food and diet resources” section below.

Advice and Support

  • Seek advice and support from the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) if required – phone 1800 699 799.

Resources

Generalist

  • A person-centred care approach helps organisations provide accessible, responsive and flexible services that meet the diverse needs and preferences of people living with dementia in our community. 
  • Many people with dementia want to remain independent for as long as possible and rely on the community care system to help them achieve this.

Additional care considerations for Malaysian people

  • Modern medicine is most popular in Malaysia, however traditional, herbal medicines and complementary medicines are also used.
  • There are systems of traditional medicine practices that are unique to each of the three different ethnic groups in Malaysia; Sinseh (Chinese), Ayureda (Indian), and Bomoh (Malay). For more information refer to the Care Resources.
  • Family support is important and family members usually provide care for older generations.
  • Residential care is usually considered as the last resort.
  • When facilities are used, Malaysian families generally visit their relatives regularly and it is also common for them to bring food from home.
  • For many Malaysian people, carers of the opposite sex are considered acceptable. However, for some, such as those of Muslim faith, carers of the same sex are more appropriate (D’Avanzo, 2008).

Tips

  • Identify and document the care needs of your care recipient and continuously re-evaluate how their dementia progression affects their care needs.
  • Make every effort to understand a dementia behaviour before attempting to manage it, as you will often discover that what lies behind it is a genuine attempt to communicate an unmet need.  

Care information resources

  • A wide range of information is available (e.g. personal hygiene, sleeping, incontinence etc.) in the “Care information, resources” below.
  • Advice and Support - Seek advice and support from the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) if required – phone 1800 699 799.
  • Employee/employer resources - A range of information is available under “Links – Other useful weblinks”

Resources

Generalist

The Concept of Face

  • The concept of “face” includes having a good name, good character and by being regarded highly by others.
  • It is considered as something that can be given, taken away, lost or earned.
  • Face can also apply to the family, school and even a country as a whole.
  • Malays, Chinese and Indians all value face and strive to maintain harmonious relationships.
  • Face is lost by actions that bring shame, such as insulting or putting someone down. Challenging authority or showing anger at another in public are also considered as actions that lose face.
  • To maintain face, keeping calm and courteous and discussing disagreements in private are important.

Tips

  • Everyone has “culture”. This includes a number of factors such as ethnicity, identity, age, gender, education, sexual orientation, ability/disability, values, beliefs, attitudes etc.
  • Recognise your own cultural traits and influences and be mindful not to judge other people’s behaviour and beliefs according to the standard of your own culture.
  • Be aware that your care recipient may judge your behaviour and beliefs according to the standard of their own culture.
  • Your care recipient may be “similar to others” but “no two people are the same” so take care not to generalise or make assumptions about them. Gain general cultural information from resources to assist with conversations to allow you to identify your care recipient’s individual cultural traits.
  • Understand and document how your care recipient’s individual cultural traits impact their care needs.
  • Increase your knowledge about different cultural practices and issues through resources, cultural background information sessions and/or cultural awareness training.

Cultural Traits resources

  • Find information (such as guides and cultural profiles created by other organisations) in the “Cultural Traits, resources” section below.
  • You will also find information including; links to community contacts, cultural profiles, useful weblinks etc. in the “Links” section of the app.

Resources

Generalist

  • Generally in Malaysia they do not celebrate Easter.
  • Given that Malaysia is predominantly Muslim, Easter is not a big festival, however children may still enjoy the chocolates.

Tips

  • Understand the importance of Easter to your care recipient and accept and respect that customs and beliefs about Easter are different from culture to culture.
  • Identify, document and support any spiritual/religious needs of your care recipients.
  • Identify, document and facilitate any dietary requirements.

Resources

Generalist

  • Christmas is celebrated in Malaysia.
  • Shopping centres in Malaysia are usually decorated with Christmas lights and décor in the lead up to Christmas.
  • Christians in Malaysia put up Christmas trees in their homes.
  • Christmas carollers visit homes and sing Christmas carols, usually a week prior to Christmas.
  • Christians may attend midnight mass at church on Christmas Eve. Following the service and prayers, people commonly share wine, fruit cake and exchange gifts.

Tips

  • Understand the importance of Christmas to your care recipient and accept and respect that customs and beliefs about Christmas are different from culture to culture.
  • Identify, document and support any spiritual/religious needs of your care recipients.
  • Identify, document and facilitate any dietary requirements.

Resources

Generalist

  • New Year is celebrated in Malaysia.
  • New Year’s Day on the 1st January of the Gregorian calendar is celebrated in most parts of Malaysia, however, the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar, the Chinese New Year is a 15 day long celebration.
  • Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year.
  • Celebrations include; traditional lion dances and fireworks. Each year is represented by a zodiac animal sign.
  • Malaysia is decorated in red for Chinese New Year and people with Chinese ethnicity living in Malaysia decorate their homes with traditional red decorations to ward off evil spirits.
  • New Year is a time when families gather, decorate their houses and share traditional food.

Tips

  • Understand the importance of New Year to your care recipient and accept and respect that customs and beliefs about New Year are different from culture to culture.
  • Identify, document and support any spiritual/religious needs of your care recipients.
  • Identify, document and facilitate any dietary requirements.

Resources

Generalist

There are a number of special days, other than Easter, Christmas and New Year that are celebrated in Malaysia, including;

Hari Raya Aidilfitri

  • Muslims fast for the month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Islamic calendar).
  • The first three days after Ramadan is known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
  • This is a time of celebration where various dishes are shared with family and friends.
  • People also take the time to remember those loved ones who have passed.
  • Homes in Malaysia are often lit up with traditional lamps on their doors (Multicultural Communities Council of SA and Multicultural Aged Care, 2005).

Deepavali (or Diwali)

  • The festival of light or Deepavali (Diwali) is a Hindu festival that occurs between mid-October and mid-December, depending on the Hindu lunar-solar calendar.
  • During this time Hindus hang clay lights known as vikku on their homes, as a symbol of victory over darkness.
  • Hindus take a traditional bath with oils followed by prayers with their family and friends.
  • Families and friends share meals and sweets and gifts are also given during this time (Multicultural Communities Council of SA and Multicultural Aged Care, 2005).

The Hungry Ghost Festival

  • The festival is celebrated by Buddhists and Taoists to remember the dead. It is believed that “the gates of hell” open and free the spirits of the dead to roam.
  • It occurs on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month.
  •  During this month, people make offerings to the spirits (Multicultural Communities Council of SA and Multicultural Aged Care, 2005).

National Water Festival

  • The three day festival (known locally as Songkran) held in April, is the celebration of water.
  • During the celebration, family and friends take to the streets and splash each other with water.
  • Traditional cultural events and performances take place in the evening (Multicultural Communities Council of SA and Multicultural Aged Care, 2005).

Gawai Dayak

  • The festival is celebrated on the 1st of June is both social and religious.
  • It is a celebration of thanksgiving for harvest and planning of future crops by the Dayaks. The Dayaks are the tribes of Iban, Bidayuh, Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit, Murut and others (Tourism Malaysia, 2015).
  • During the festival, families will feast and drink “tuak” (a traditional rice wine). Singing and dancing also takes place during the night (Multicultural Communities Council of SA and Multicultural Aged Care, 2005).

Nine Emperor Gods Festival

  • This religious festival is celebrated on the eve of the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar – usually late September to early October.
  • Celebrations occur over a period of 9 days.
  • During the festival, the nine emperors are welcomed down from heaven to Earth, and prayers are made for blessings and to get rid of bad luck. Processions, chanting of prayers and prayer bells can be heard during this time.

Diet

  • Malaysians will often celebrate by following a strict vegetarian diet to cleanse the body (Multicultural Communities Council of SA and Multicultural Aged Care, 2005).

Tips

  • Understand the importance of any significant days to your care recipient and accept and respect that customs and beliefs about special days are different from culture to culture.
  • Identify, document and support any spiritual/religious needs of your care recipients.
  • Identify, document and facilitate any dietary requirements.

Resources

Generalist

  • Carers should be aware of the importance of social interaction, involvement in activities and psychological wellbeing, and how essential family and informal social networks are to the care needs of elderly Malaysians.
  • “Mahjong” is a game involving skill, memory and calculation commonly enjoyed by Malaysians, particularly those of Chinese ethnicity.
  • “Batu Seremban/ Batu Serembat” (similar to knuckle bones) is a game that is played using five or seven objects (such as small stones, beads, or nut shells). This game is played by throwing one of the objects up in the air, then sweeping another one from the floor, and then catching the first object you threw up in the air.
  • Ball games (such as “Sepak Takraw” where you need to pass the ball using any part of your body except your lower arms or hands) are also popular.

Reminiscence   

  • Smell or taste - Using smell kits, different cultural foods. Suggestions include; Cinnamon, Staranise, Cardamom, Cloves, Turmeric, Chili powder, Cumin, Lemongrass, Lime and Coriander.    
  • Sight - Cultural photographs, slides, films, painting pictures, looking at objects. Suggestions include; photos of Rome, the Vatican the Pope, Churches in general, pictures from the town or village of birth. (Refer to the “Cultural activities resource” section for some visual ideas).          
  • Touch - Touching cultural objects, feeling textures, painting and pottery. Pampering, massage hands, etc. if it is considered culturally appropriate by the care recipient and they trust you to do this without being intrusive.
  • Sound - Personalised playlists, listening to familiar tunes from the radio, C.D's, YouTube, listening to cultural performances, or making music using various instruments. (Refer to the “Music resources” section for some music ideas).

Tips

  • It is important to understand your care recipient’s activity likes and dislikes and their personal history to plan appropriate activities for them.
  • Your care recipient should be provided with a choice of activities to participate in.
  • Participating in suitable activities can help a person with dementia to achieve purpose and pleasure, help to improve their mood, responses, memory function, increase social interaction, sleep, improve verbal and non-verbal communication and restore a sense of identity. Activities also play a significant part in increasing the person’s wellbeing and confidence which will decrease responsive behaviours or ill-being.
  • It is important that activities are suitable to the level of ability of the person with dementia. People with dementia should be encouraged to participate as independently as possible and be given the choice to participate or to watch others.
  •  Always talk to the person’s doctor before starting them on a new exercise program and ensure the program designed for them takes into account their current health and ability.
  • Alzheimer’s Australia SA, local council libraries or community organisations may be able to loan suitable cultural activities such as music, games, videos etc.

Cultural activity resources

  • For cultural activity information and ideas refer to the “Cultural activities, resources” section below.
  • For local community contact details refer to the “Links, Community Contacts” section of this app.

Resources

Generalist

  • The Malaysian culture is rich with music and dance.
  • Traditional Malaysian music includes the “gamelan” which originates from Indonesia. This is an instrumental ensemble that includes many bronze percussion instruments.
  • Malaysian drums often accompany the gamelan.
  • Traditionally, drums were used to communicate across vast distances. Warnings and announcements were communicated by using different drum beats.
  • Another traditional instrument is the “rebana ubi”, a type of tambourine, which is used as a ceremonial instrument (Geographica, 2008).
  • Popular Malaysian dances include; the Silat, the Candle dance and the Joget (which is Malaysia's most popular traditional dance).

Tips

  • Music is the most powerful universal language.
  • Music provides an external rhythm and can restore a person back to themselves, and to others, at least for a while.
  • People tend to remain contactable as musical beings on some level right up to the very end of life.
  • It is important to understand your care recipient’s music likes and dislikes and to provide them with their choice of music to listen to.
  • Create a personalised music playlist for your care recipient for their maximum benefit and enjoyment.
  • Provide opportunities for the person with dementia to watch live music performances.
  • Providing music a person relates to can have a wide range of benefits to the care recipient. Benefits may include; helping to improve their mood, responses, memory function, increase social interaction, improve verbal and non-verbal communication and restore a sense of identity.

Resources