Make HK more elderly friendly
Hong Kong faces an ageing population because of the low birth rate. But there are not enough services for the elderly. There should be better facilities at homes for old people. There are reports some of these centres do not treat the elderly well.
Moreover, the elderly do not receive enough medical care from the government. For example, they should be given free medical check-ups at government hospitals.
We should take care of the physical and mental well-being of old people. Many of them live alone and are unhappy. It would be a good idea for volunteers to visit them once a week and monitor their situation. Community groups should organise more activities for them.
The government and the community should act now to improve the lives of our elderly population.
Natelie Chung Ho-ki
From the Editor
Thanks for your letter, Natelie. It seems Hong Kong does lag behind other first world cities when looking after its elderly.
For a start the retirement age is too low. People should be allowed to work well over the age of 65. There are a number of top surgeons and doctors who are in their 70s. Raising the retirement age would allow people to save more for their retirement.
Second, the over-burdened social services in Hong Kong mean home-care is not really possible. In other places, the elderly can have helpers to take care of them, which keeps them out of homes.
And third, the city is just not designed for elderly folk. Recently, the city of Uffculme in Britain opened a park for the elderly. It includes exercise equipment specially designed for them.
It seems many property developers in Hong Kong are trying to keep out the elderly. Many shopping centres don't have benches, forcing old people to sit on low walls, which must be very uncomfortable.
While we hear a lot of people calling for improved youth facilities, they rarely raise their voices for the elderly.