Spur in emergency calls when temperature below 12 degrees

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2007, 12:00am

Elderly people are 10 per cent more likely to press the personal emergency link button when the temperature drops below 12 degrees Celsius, according to a study by the Hong Kong Observatory and the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association.

The study, based on data from March 2004 to September this year, also found that about 80 elderly people a day who pressed the button ended up in hospital.

The Observatory and the association determined to study the effects of weather on the health of the elderly, and an analysis was carried out to find out the relationship between air temperature and the number of users needing the personal emergency link service, and those requiring subsequent hospitalisation.

Timothy Ma Kam-wah, the association's executive director, said the results of the study indicate a strong relationship between temperatures and the health of the elderly, and has helped provide timely care services. 'It's an indication and a reference for us to make better preparations on manpower planning.'

Mr Ma explained resources can be better allocated, like arranging for more staff and volunteers to stand by on colder days.

Also, the beta version of the new 'Weather Information for Senior Citizens' page was launched yesterday on the Observatory's website.

The page provides the latest forecasts, including minimum and maximum temperatures, and cold and very hot warning messages.

The site also provides hyperlinks to the websites of other government departments such as the Social Welfare Department, the Department of Health and other subsidised organisations such as the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association.

Observatory assistant director Wong Ming-chung said it is a convenient website in terms of information for the elderly and their carers.

Mr Ma added there are on average about 40,000 elderly people using the internet every day.

Safety bell

Number of times the personal emergency link was pressed for help last month: 41,553