A thorough understanding of the needs of elderly people will be the backbone of a new admission system for government-funded elderly care services, according to a member of the Elderly Commission. Creation of the new system next year was foreshadowed by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa in his Policy Address, which called for a central system to assess the care needs of elderly people and to provide services for them. Commission member Rita Lam Yu-kiu said an intermediate report by her organisation on the new system had been sent to the Government. 'The assessment tool has been decided and the basic framework has already been outlined,' she said. Under the new system, trained assessors would interview elderly people who apply to use government-funded services. The individual's needs would be assessed with the appropriate services arranged. Ms Lam, who chairs the Association for the Rights of the Elderly, said nurses and social workers would make the ideal assessors because they already have frequent contact with the elderly. She said the commission believed the new system could be introduced in October, with training expected to start in March or April. Three types of residential centres would be available for elderly people who needed intensive care: homes for the elderly, care homes and nursing homes. It would be recommended that those in better health use day-care centres or home-help services, Ms Lam said. The waiting list for places in homes for the elderly stands at about 26,000.