The elderly do not see themselves as stubborn, sickly and boring - as they are commonly portrayed, according to a government survey released yesterday. Rather, 58 per cent describe themselves as independent, while half say they are happy and open-minded. More than a third consider themselves to be healthy, sociable and wise, while fewer than 20 per cent see themselves as lonely, stupid, inactive or boring. 'The findings indicate a large discrepancy between the public image and the self-perception of the elderly community,' said Leong Che-hung, chairman of the Elderly Commission, which commissioned the survey. He said the commission would strive to promote a more positive image of the elderly. The survey of 1,883 people aged over 60 also highlighted the positive impact the elderly had when living with their offspring. As many as 72 per cent said they give advice to their children or grandchildren. Nearly half help with housekeeping or cooking, and 17 per cent contribute financially. When asked how the public perceive the elderly, almost 40 per cent of 9,000 people interviewed - including the 1,883 elderly respondents - said they were stubborn and sickly, while 30 per cent said they were boring and conservative. In revealing the findings, the commission also said the Buildings Department would revise design requirements to make access to buildings easier for the elderly and disabled. The proposed design manual will be released early next year for a six-month public consultation. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong branch of the international charity group Hope Worldwide plans to launch a new programme to help single elderly people. In a separate survey, the group found 90 per cent of that demographic want someone to help them clean and repaint their flats. The other 10 per cent dream of going on outings, visiting their families and former places of work, and shopping for the new year.