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Elderly Services

Club-funded pilot research on age-friendliness identifies ways forward for districts to enhance elderly’s quality of life

Building an age-friendly Hong Kong is one of the strategic focus areas of the Club’s Charities Trust.

Proactively responding to the challenges and opportunities that arise from the city’s ageing population trend, the Trust has committed funding of over HK$100 million to the Jockey Club Age-friendly City Project, a comprehensive support scheme aimed at building age-friendly momentum at community level.

The project is being implemented by four of Hong Kong’s gerontology research institutes:  the Institute of Ageing (IoA) at The Chinese University of Hong Kong; the Sau Po Centre on Ageing at The University of Hong Kong; the Institute of Active Ageing at Hong Kong Polytechnic University; and the Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies at Lingnan University.

To assess the current age-friendliness in society and identify appropriate directions of action, they are piloting research in eight key domains defined by the World Health Organization (WHO),  namely social participation; transportation; communication and information; outdoor spaces and buildings; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; housing; and community support and health services.  Their studies cover eight pilot districts in Hong Kong.

A representative of the CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing revealed that over 4,200 respondents had so far taken part in surveys and focus groups studying the age-friendliness of their districts.  They were found to have rated social participation and transportation most favourably,. On the other hand, housing and community support and health services were seen as areas for improvement. Among the four age groups surveyed from below 50 to 80 or above, there was a noticeable trend of the elderly giving higher scores than younger respondents to outdoor spaces and buildings, transportation, housing, civic participation and employment, and community support and health services.

The research has shed light on three priority directions for action, namely building Hong Kong into a more friendly city for people of different ages; encouraging the elderly to participate in community activities; and promoting social inclusion. Moving forward, the project teams will work closely with District Councils and community partners to develop three-year action plans with indicators to monitor progress. The Trust will also provide funding to pilot districts for the implementation of district-based programmes, believing that this bottom-up and district-based approach will be an effective way of building an age-friendly city and ensuring a long-lasting and sustainable impact on local communities. To enhance the publicity and public education efforts of the Jockey Club Age-friendly City Project, RTHK Radio 5 has been engaged as a media partner to incorporate age-friendly city messages into its radio programmes.

The Club is dedicated to improving the quality of life of Hong Kong's senior citizens and has contributed over HK$1.15 billion to the well-being of the elderly in the past decade.  Last year, IoA was commissioned to evaluate the elderly’s quality of life based on 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 areas and improvements to the well-being of the local elderly population.  Hong Kong currently ranks 24th of 97 countries and regions compared in the Global AgeWatch Index.