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SLW visits elderly home to extend Lunar New Year greetings (with photos)

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, visited the Hong Kong Young Women's Christian Association Cheng Pon Hing Care and Attention Home for the Elderly at Lei Tung Estate, Ap Lei Chau, this morning (February 11) to extend his warmest wishes to the elderly at the beginning of the Year of the Monkey.

     Welcomed by four members of the Golden Guides, Mr Cheung was then accompanied by the Assistant District Social Welfare Officer (Central Western, Southern and Islands), Ms Maggie Leung; the Deputy Chief Executive of Hong Kong Young Women's Christian Association, Ms Lai Sau-ling; the Service Director (Elderly Service and YWCA Movement), Mr Silas Poon; and the Home's Supervisor, Ms Rosanna Lai, and toured the facilities of the Home. Mr Cheung presented mandarins to the elderly residents and celebrated the festival with them. He also expressed his sincerest blessings to two elderly residents who are 102 years old and joined other residents for physical exercise.

     Mr Cheung said, "With a fast ageing population in Hong Kong, the Government attaches great importance to the well-being of our elderly citizens. We aim to create a social environment conducive to active ageing for the able-bodied elderly so that they can continue to contribute to society. For the frail elderly, we will continue to strengthen the community and residential care services for them according to their different levels of care needs under our policy objective of 'ageing in place as the core, institutional care as backup'. We will adopt a multi-pronged approach in enhancing the hardware and software facilities for elderly care services and mapping out a long-term plan for the care services."

     As regards residential care services for the elderly, Mr Cheung said that the Government will adopt an all-encompassing strategy in improving the quality and quantity of elderly homes.

     Mr Cheung said, "On the quality front, we will progressively convert 1 200 EA2 places under the Enhanced Bought Place Scheme to the higher standard EA1 places starting from 2016-17, in order to boost the supply of subsidised places of higher quality, as well as to enhance the overall quality of private residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs).

     "The Social Welfare Department (SWD) will merge the Licensing Office of Residential Care Homes for the Elderly and the Licensing Office of Residential Care Homes for Persons with Disabilities. More manpower will also be allocated to step up inspection and regulation of RCHEs and residential care homes for persons with disabilities."

     On the quantity front, Mr Cheung said he expects that the various ongoing or planned welfare projects will add more than 10 000 residential care places for the elderly.

     "Other than bringing in over 1 500 subsidised residential care places for the elderly in the last two years, an additional 1 700 subsidised care places are expected to come into service from 2014-15 to 2017-18," he said.

     "As at late November last year, the SWD has earmarked sites in 16 development projects or vacant premises for construction or conversion into RCHEs, providing about 1 700 new residential care places, either subsidised or non-subsidised.

     "Apart from that, we have estimated to provide some 7 000 new residential care places for the elderly if all the 60 or so projects under the Special Scheme on Privately Owned Sites for Welfare Uses are implemented. The Government will continue to identify suitable sites for new contract RCHEs."

     Mr Cheung added, "With a view to raising both the quality and quantity of the Care-and-Attention Places with Continuum of Care, the Government allocated extra recurrent expenditure of $164 million since 2013-14 to raise the level of assistance to all the 6 920 Places with Continuum of Care in Care and Attention Homes for the Elderly. Additional resources have also been devoted to upgrade some 7 850 conventional Care-and-Attention Places in subsidised homes to the aforementioned type with continuum of care." The Hong Kong Young Women's Christian Association Cheng Pon Hing Care and Attention Home for the Elderly has recently completed the conversion to provide appropriate care services to frail residents.

Ends/Thursday, February 11, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:48


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