Government subsidised dental scheme for Hong Kong’s over 75s gets the go ahead

Commission on Poverty lowered the age of eligibility for subsidised dental care from 80 to 75, which is expected to help more than 24,000 people in the city

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 September, 2016, 10:19am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 September, 2016, 10:21am

Some 24,600 more senior citizens will benefit from government subsidised dental care under a Community Care Fund scheme approved by the Commission on Poverty on Wednesday, which lowered the age of eligibility by five years.

The commission also pledged to launch a HK$99 million pilot scheme for community support services for elderly dementia patients.

The application criteria for the Elderly Dental Assistance Programme has been relaxed to cover recipients of the old age living allowance and aged 75 or above, instead of the current requirement of 80 years old.

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The commission believed the move could benefit an extra of 24,600 senior citizens, and that the extra cost could be covered by the total provision of HK$817.11 million already approved.

Under the scheme, eligible senior citizens will be subsidised for dentures and other dental services like oral examinations, tooth extractions, polishing and scaling, fillings and X-ray examinations.

Meanwhile, from next February, a two-year trial programme, formally called the Pilot Scheme on Dementia Community Support Services for he Elderly, will be launched to provide support services to people aged 60 or above who suffer from mild or moderate dementia through 20 of the government-backed district elderly community centres.

This will help stabilise progression of the disease, the commission said.

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The scheme costs about HK$98.88 million and is expected to benefit about 2,000 elderly people.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who also chairs the commission, said on a radio programme on Wednesday that she hoped the government, community, and business sectors could co-operate more in anti-poverty work.

She said that some 35 programmes had been launched under the government Community Care Fund since its establishment in 2011.

“But when we go to the Legislative Council, there seem to be only criticisms. We have no chance to spell out our programmes or what we have done,” said Lam.