Tag Archive - filial piety

Elderly care in Hong Kong – the challenges & opportunities

Can you imagine, if you intend to have a bed at a residential home for elderly in Hong Kong, you would have to wait for around 39 months? And, if you wish to apply for elderly care services, you would probably have to visit several offices of different Government departments before you are offered the services? 

Hong Kong has the highest rate of institutionalised elderly (of around eight percent), when compared with other countries like USA and UK who are around three percent to four percent. So why do elderly in Hong Kong love to be institutionalised?

According to the Census projection in Hong Kong, it is expected in about 25 years, the percentage of the elderly population here would increase to 25 percent to 28 percent, meaning about one fourth of the total population would be elderly in Hong Kong at 2033.


Challenges of elderly care

As a Chinese society, filial piety has been a long belief that can foster quality care to the elderly. However, the following challenges are faced by elderly care in Hong Kong:

  1. Busy working lives – Even as they age, the spouse and children of the elderly have to work long hours before they can go home to take care of the elderly.
  2. Limited residential space – This prevents the elderly from being properly cared in their own homes. Worse still, their homes cannot accommodate a wheelchair.
  3. Intention of not to bother family members by the elderly – Elderly in Hong Kong are very considerate that they do not want to bother their families, choosing instead to live by themselves.
  4. Increasingly frail elderly population – Around 15 percent of the elderly suffer from chronic illness, whilst eight percent of those aged 80 suffer from dementia. These figures are set to increase as the population continues to age.
  5. Shortage of para-professionals (such as occupational therapists and physiotherapists) and nurses – Elderly institutions are not granted license if they lack sufficient para-medical staff. This means an added pressure to existing elderly institutions with their waiting lists for the elderly continuing to grow and the wait becomes longer. 

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