You are never too old to begin a healthy lifestyle

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 November, 2011, 12:00am


Cecilia Lam Shiu-ling believes it is not enough just to hand out remedies to the elderly when they become sick.

The Rehabaid Centre chief executive is convinced preventing illness in the elderly by promoting healthy living is more important.

'Society is too focused on treating the sick,' Lam said. 'We should put more effort into prevention by promoting healthy living through the right kind of diet and exercise.

'We'd like to help the elderly to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Services to the elderly are fragmented. We want to provide a holistic service.'

The charity has designed a project, Salute to the Elderly, to promote the health of elderly people through the prevention of falls and increasing bone density.

It is one of the beneficiaries of this year's Operation Santa Claus.

Money raised will be used to buy physical training equipment that will help improve bone density and maintain walking balance.

People aged 65 or above, especially those with low bone mineral density, at high risk of falls and suffering bone fractures, are welcome to turn to the charity for help.

Falls are the fourth most common reason for hospital admissions involving the elderly, according to statistics from the Hospital Authority.

Between 10 and 20 per cent of elderly people who suffer bone fractures die with one year because of complications. Half of those who recover from fractures cannot resume their pre-illness mobility level, affecting their quality of life and increasing the burden on their families.

Lam estimated 10,000 elderly would seek assistance in the first year of the project's operation. The charity will give consultations and conduct body composition analysis to measure the bone mineral density, the body fat ratio and total body water before designing a programme designed to help them become fitter.

'With the right machine, the right kind of exercise, the elderly can improve their bone mineral density,' Lam said.

The annual Operation Santa Claus campaign is jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and Radio Television Hong Kong.

It has supported more than 100 charities since starting in 1988.

This year, it has identified 16 Hong Kong- based charities that help the needy both in the city and on the mainland.

How you can give

Donate online by credit card at

Donations can be made at ATMs or at any branch of HSBC: account number 502-676299-001 for SCMP CHARITIES LTD-OPERATION SANTA CLAUS

You can make a donation by cheque, payable to 'SCMP CHARITIES LTD-OPERATION SANTA CLAUS' and mail to: Operation Santa Claus, Morning Post Centre, 22 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, New Territories, Hong Kong

Donations of HK$100 or more are tax-deductible. If you would like a tax receipt, please send the completed donation form and original bank receipt with your name, address and phone number to the address above.

Contact us via e-mail at, telephone 2680 8159 or visit us online at