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Government to strengthen home care services for elderly

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said this (December 14) morning that starting this month, the Government would provide an additional 810 home care places for the elderly, representing an increase of 21% over the 3,780 places now available.

     An additional 80 day care places will also come on stream in the next financial year to assist frail elders to age in the community, he added.

     Speaking at the ACCA (Association of Charted Certified Accountants) Hong Kong Charity Fun Day, Mr Cheung said that the demand for elderly community services was growing steadily with the ageing population, and that the Government was concerned about whether the services would be able to ensure that the quality of life of the elderly was safeguarded in the long run.

     "The Government spent $31.7 billion on social security, elderly care and medical service for elders in 2007-08, accounting for 16% of the total recurrent expenditure. In other words, for every hundred dollars spent, $16 are invested in the elders, and a significant percentage of which goes to elderly care services," Mr Cheung said.

     He said, "Our objective is to ensure that our elders enjoy their golden years with 'a sense of security, a sense of belonging and a feeling of worth'.

     "Ageing in the community is the wish for most elders. To live under the care of their family in a familiar neighbourhood and enjoy their leisure with neighbours and friends is also conducive to their physical and mental well-being."

     The Government has allocated additional recurrent funding of $60 million to elderly centres this year to strengthen their outreach programmes and assistance for singleton and hidden elders. Referral and counselling services for elders as well as the processing of applications for subsidised long-term care services will also be enhanced.

     The elderly centres have reached out and provided appropriate service to more than 7,000 singleton and hidden elders in the first nine months of this year, Mr Cheung added.

Ends/Sunday, December 14, 2008
Issued at HKT 11:00


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