Care home operators fear some will be left out of plan to relocate 1,000 elderly residents

Planned complex for old folks forced to move due to development project will have screening mechanism

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 12:31pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 12:33pm

Despite a government promise to relocate about 1,000 elderly residents from care homes facing closure due to new town development, operators fear that some of the old folks will be left out.

Chan Suk-hing, vice-chairwoman of the Dills Corner Elderly Services Association, representing 15 care homes that have been operating on government land in Kwu Tung North for 19 years, said the Social Welfare Department earlier told the association that a planned complex of care homes for the affected residents would have a screening mechanism.

She said the department did not give further details on the mechanism, but she was concerned that it would mean not all of the 924 affected seniors in Dills Corner Garden would be relocated.

“These elderly have been living with one another for years,” Chan said. “If they can’t all move into the new complex, they will be displaced and forced to part with their long-term friends.”

The new complex, designed to provide at least 1,100 places, is expected to be completed in 2021. The government announced in August that a 25,000 square metre site near Dills Corner would be used for the complex, and the Civil Engineering and Development Department started the tendering process for the initial construction work last Friday.

New town will leave 1,000 old people without homes

But the demolition of Dills Corner is planned to begin in 2018. The government earlier promised to convert some non-care home buildings in Dills Corner into homes to accommodate the affected elderly “as far as possible” before the complex was completed. The government also pledged to “make every effort” to help those who could not move into the converted homes find alternative accommodation.

A Social Welfare Department spokesman said the government had established a cross-departmental work force to keep in contact with the affected care home operators to ensure smooth relocation for eligible residents. But the spokesman did not explain how eligibility would be determined.

“The government will discuss detailed arrangements with the elderly tenants, their family members and the care home operators,” the spokesman said.

Don’t break up our family: residents

The department will invite operators to submit tenders for the running of care homes in the new complex.

Chan said the association hoped the government could allow the original operators to continue their work because the residents were already familiar with their current caregivers.

“We are like family with the elderly,” Chan said. “If the operators are changed, will the caregivers be changed as well? Will the elderly get used to the new caregivers and the new mode of operation?”