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Elderly Services

Jockey Club helps strengthen community support for depressed elderly

The challenge of how to enhance the mental wellness of Hong Kong’s older citizens and provide comprehensive community support has become an important social concern, as studies indicate that about 10% of the city’s elderly population have depressive symptoms. Factors such as stress, health problems and a lack of social engagement tend to contribute to the vulnerability of older people and cause higher risks of elderly depression or other major illness.

To help address the challenge, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has donated over HK$87 million to initiate the three-year JC JoyAge: Jockey Club Holistic Support Project for Elderly Mental Wellness. The project will cover elderly people in four pilot areas, enhancing their resiliency to facing the challenges of ageing.

Partners of JC JoyAge include The University of Hong Kong, Caritas Hong Kong, Christian Family Service Centre, Haven of Hope Christian Services, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Lady MacLehose Centre, the Mental Health Association of Hong Kong and the New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association. In the four pilot areas, namely Kwai Chung, Kwun Tong, Sham Shui Po and Tseung Kwan O, an Integrated Community Centre for Mental Wellness will work with a District Elderly Community Centre or an Integrated Home Care Services team to provide holistic support to older people at risk or having mild to moderate depression. Key elements include:

  • Outreach engagement – Outreach and community engagement activities will be organised for high-risk and needy elderly people to provide early detection and service referral. Over 3,800 elderly residents are expected to be reached through some 69,000 home visit activities.

  • Collaborative and integrated services – An innovative service model with a triage and stepped-care system will be established to provide prevention and intervention services according to the risks and severity levels of elderly depression sufferers.

  • Capacity and public education – A training curriculum and standards on elderly mental wellness will be developed for the welfare sector to improve front-line social workers’ competence and confidence in handling elderly depression, benefiting some 2,000 participants. A series of education programmes include symposiums and talks will also be held to enhance mental health literacy, while a team of elderly “Peer Supporters” will be trained to strengthen social support in the neighbourhood.

The University of Hong Kong will evaluate the effectiveness of the project. Subject to the results, the project can be scaled up and expanded to other districts.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust is committed to the betterment of Hong Kong, in particular by encouraging cross-sector collaboration and social innovation to enhance service quality. The Trust had been a long-standing supporter of initiatives to improve the quality of life of Hong Kong’s senior citizens, and had designated Elderly Services as one of its strategic focus areas.

Last year, the Trust launched the Jockey Club Community eHealth Care Project, encouraging the elderly to build self-management habits with the use of cloud technology. Another initiative, the Jockey Club End-of-Life Community Care Project, brings together the social welfare, academic and public and private healthcare sectors in a multi-disciplinary collaboration. Five innovative service models are being piloted to improve the quality of life of the elderly at their last stage of life.