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Ageing society

How lonely seniors in Hong Kong can enjoy a long and happy life

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 May, 2018, 4:37pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 May, 2018, 4:37pm

Your correspondent, John Isaacs (“Lonely, poor and neglected: why many elderly Hong Kong people are tired of life”, April 18), should know that Hong Kong is unlike developed societies with mature welfare systems and a sense of humanity.

Here, amid a densely packed population, harsh living conditions and fears of a bleak future, very few people have warm words or sympathy to spare for the elderly. Many single elderly people struggle everyday physically, but more so spiritually, with loneliness.

Even during yum cha in a busy restaurant, accompanied by a helper, they are in effect alone, as the helper may not speak their language at all.

In the US, charity organisations will send a hospice volunteer to elderly homes to comfort the residents with conversation and care, and even bring their relatives and friends in to alleviate their loneliness.

A few years back, there was a memoir published by a 90-year-old in the US, who wrote about the potentials of old age and the lessons learned from decades of experience as a magazine correspondent. I believe indulging in his writing hobby for so many years was one of the reasons for his longevity, as it kept him busy without a moment of loneliness.

Having a hobby and finding an interest or continuing to work present the best remedy for loneliness among the elderly. Complete retirement can destroy the beauty of life.

Edmond Pang, Fanling