Hong Kong charity Rehabaid Society calls for more support in services for elderly with special needs amid fast-ageing population
- Organisation is a beneficiary of Operation Santa Claus, the donation drive organised by the Post and government broadcaster RTHK
- ‘Healthy Ageing In Place’ programme offers free home safety assessment, training and rehabilitation support to those with disabilities at home
Stretched out on a treatment table, Chan Tak-chung, 80, chats casually with his physiotherapist and an assistant who are massaging the muscles in his left arm and leg.
The retired factory worker, who suffered a stroke that once paralysed the left side of his body, is now able to move his limbs. While tending to their client, April Wong and Fan Cheung-piu tell his family how they can follow suit and help Chan perform the mobility exercise at home.
Chan is one of many elderly people who benefit from Rehabaid Society’s rehabilitation programme.
His wife Choi Pui-wah, who usually accompanies him to the treatment sessions conducted at the society in Hung Hom, said her husband had made good progress.
“He was unable to sit up independently after having a stroke in July last year. He also had difficulty speaking,” she said.
“I once thought he might not be able to walk again. But now he can get to his feet and take steps slowly after being treated for several months.”
The couple are thankful that the charity has helped them get through a very difficult time.
As his condition continues to improve, Chan believes he is firmly on the road to recovery.
“I hope to go travelling with my wife again,” the grandfather of four said.
Dr Cecilia Lam Shiu-ling, the society’s CEO, said the charitable organisation had helped many elderly patients such as Chan.
“There is a growing demand for elderly care and rehabilitation services as Hong Kong’s population is ageing,” the veteran therapist said.
“Apart from elderly patients, their carers also receive our support.”
The society’s “Healthy Ageing In Place” programme offers free home safety assessment, functional mobility training and rehabilitation support to the elderly, and to people with disabilities currently living at home.
Occupational therapists and physiotherapists provide tailor-made health improvement plans to enhance participants’ safety at home, and help them live independently in the community.
In Chan’s case, Lam and her team visited his home more than 10 times to help the then bedridden man strengthen his core and regain his balance. With the help of his wife and a domestic helper, he is now able to come to the Hung Hom centre by bus to receive muscle strengthening treatment.
The society provides services with funding from Operation Santa Claus, the annual donation drive organised by the Post and government broadcaster RTHK.
Lam said she hoped the programme could get more support from the community.
“Rehabilitation is a very long process. Many elderly people cannot afford to use our services even if our charges are based on a cost-recovery basis,” she said.
“To continue to provide our services free of charge for the people who are in need, we do need a lot of support from donors.”
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