With winter’s chill setting in, the Hong Kong Observatory has launched a website tailor-made for older people, with a magnifying function for reading weather updates.
The website, available in Chinese and English, is a collaborative project with the charity Senior Citizen Home Safety Association.
Irene Leung Shuk-yee, the association’s chief executive, said older people were increasingly using the internet to stay informed about the rest of society. The association’s Wong Tai Sin centre also offers computer classes to the elderly.
When the weather turns cold or rainy, the site will display a warning and suggest precautions for people to take.
Winters were uncomfortable for many older people, whose joints could become stiff or sore in harsh weather, Leung said. On an average day, the association receives about 2,100 calls for advice, including around 100 emergency calls to be taken to hospital.
And, Leung said, when the weather turned nasty, requests for emergency service typically shot up to about 140 a day, with almost everyone calling mentioning the weather.
The association alerts illiterate people to adverse weather by sending them voice-recorded phone messages.
Association member Pauline Ng Po-lin, 65, welcomes the new website. The Tai Koo resident relies on online weather updates to know whether an extra layer of clothing is necessary when she visits friends in the New Territories.
“It’s great if you don’t want to wait around for the radio and television weather updates, which might not be detailed enough,” said Ng.