How does life for elderly people in Hong Kong compare with that of their counterparts elsewhere in the world? That was the question that spurred the Club’s Charities Trust to initiate the Jockey Club Age-Friendly City Project last year, proactively responding to the challenges and opportunities that arise from the city’s ageing population trend.
Part of the initiative involves commissioning the Jockey Club Institute of Ageing at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) to develop an AgeWatch Index specifically for Hong Kong, for the purpose of assessing the well-being of its senior citizens. Taking the Global AgeWatch Index as a base, the Institute found that overall in 2015, Hong Kong ranked 19th out of 97 countries and regions – and first in terms of its enabling environment
The Global AgeWatch Index is a multi-dimensional index assessing the social and economic well-being of elderly populations in over 90 countries, representing 91% of people aged 60 and above in the world. It is composed of 13 indicators which can be categorised into four key domains – income security, health status, capability and enabling environment.
This is the second year that the Trust has supported the CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing in compiling an AgeWatch Index for Hong Kong, with the aim of providing an objective global comparison of achievements in various areas as well as improvements to the well-being of the local elderly population.
Among the four domains, Hong Kong ranks first for its enabling environment, 61st in income security, 10th in health status and 40th in capability. Enabling environment includes the indicators of social connections, physical safety, civic freedom and access to public transport. Hong Kong’s performance in physical health, physical safety and access to public transport is rated outstanding, while income security, mental health and social connection – the latter two of which have a strong correlation – are areas for improvement.
The Club has long proactively supported and initiated projects aimed at improving the well-being of the elderly, and has donated over HK$100 million to launch the Jockey Club Age-Friendly City Project. Under this project, four of Hong Kong’s gerontology research institutes have conducted baseline assessment studies for eight pilot districts in eight key domains defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) to assess the current age-friendliness in society and to identify appropriate directions for action. The four institutes have also formed professional support teams to help community stakeholders improve age-friendliness at district level.