A survey on the wellbeing of the elderly commissioned by The Hong Kong Jockey Club shows that, compared to statistics from 96 countries worldwide, Hong Kong’s elderly population ranks 4th for enabling environment, 9th for health status, 33rd for capability, and 75th for income security. That placed the territory in 24th place when the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Jockey Club Institute of Ageing compared its findings with those 96 countries in the Global AgeWatch Index.
Today (16 July), the Club’s Executive Director, Charities and Community, Leong Cheung joined the CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing Director Professor Jean Woo and Management Committee Member Professor Hung Wong at a press conference to announce the results of the survey.
Hong Kong is facing a rapidly ageing population. It is projected that people aged 65 or above will upsurge from 13% in 2011 to 30% in 2041. Mr Cheung noted that it is critical to address the needs of the elderly to cope with the multi-faceted challenges of our ageing society. “The Club believes the elderly healthcare sector needs to shift towards a more preventative approach by promoting active ageing, which extends healthy years to the elderly, compressing the disability period and improving their quality of life.” He said the survey findings help to lay the basis to plan for elderly projects particularly in the areas of physical and mental wellness, employment and volunteering, and social wellbeing.
The Global AgeWatch Index, produced by HelpAge International since 2013, ranks the performance of different countries around the world and reports annually based on the results of 13 indicators under four key domains - income security, health status, capability, and enabling environment of older people. In the 2014 report, the Index benchmarked the social and economic wellbeing of the elderly population in 96 countries (not including Hong Kong), representing 91% of people aged over 60 in the world.
To determine how Hong Kong fared against these countries, the Club’s Charities Trust funded the CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing to compare similar benchmarks using official statistics from the Hong Kong Government and survey data collected by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies.
Professor Jean Woo said that despite Hong Kong performing quite well in the domains of health status and enabling environment when compared with the 96 countries surveyed, there was always room for improvement in income security and other domains. “While the elderly population in Hong Kong enjoys longer life expectancy, attention should be given to their psychological and social conditions, reflected in the below-average indicators of their psychological wellbeing and social connectedness,” she said.
The Jockey Club Charities Trust has taken a leading role in addressing the challenges of the ageing population and catering to the needs of the elderly. In the last decade, it has contributed over HK$900 million in the wellbeing of the elderly. The Club has stipulated that “helping build Hong Kong into an age-friendly city” is one of the overarching strategic themes in the coming three to five years, focusing on four priorities: 1.Exercise, nutrition and preventative health; 2. Mental and emotional health; 3. Social relationships and intergenerational harmony; 4. Employment and volunteering.
Later this year, the Trust will collaborate with various partners to implement an Age-friendly City project to further enhance the quality of life of the elderly through district-based work. And to continuously monitor the elderly’s wellbeing, the Institute of Ageing will liaise with HelpAge to incorporate Hong Kong into future Global AgeWatch Index reports, and develop an AgeWatch Index specifically for Hong Kong that can provide an objective and comparable measurement over the years to show achievements in various dimensions and to reflect improvements to the well-being of the local elderly population.
The CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing, run by CADENZA: A Jockey Club Initiative for Seniors Director Professor Jean Woo, was established last year with a donation of HK$12 million from the Trust. The Institute is actively pursuing community outreach initiatives, research projects and knowledge transfer programmes which contribute to overcoming the challenges brought by the ageing population in Hong Kong. The Institute also collaborates with the Elderly Commission, NGOs and other universities to implement projects to tackle issues related to the quality of care and services for the elderly in a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary manner.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club
Founded in 1884, The Hong Kong Jockey Club is a world-class horse racing operator and Hong Kong’s largest community benefactor, as well as one of Asia’s most prestigious membership clubs. Operating as a not-for-profit organisation, the Club allocates its surplus funds for charitable and community projects. In 2013/14, its donations reached a record $3.6 billion, and in the last decade alone it supported over 1,275 projects. The Club is also Hong Kong’s largest single taxpayer, contributing a record HK$19.58 billion in 2013/14. With about 70% of its revenue given back to society every year through donations and tax contributions, The Hong Kong Jockey Club delivers a significantly higher return to the community than any other racing and/or sports betting organisation in the world. As a socially responsible organisation, the Club helps Government combat illegal betting and advocates responsible gambling. The Club is also one of Hong Kong’s largest employers with over 24,800 full-time and part-time staff. Committed to global excellence and giving back to society, the Club is always “riding high together for a better future” with the people of Hong Kong. Please visit 130.hkjc.com.