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NPCSC Chairman visits elderly care facility (with photos/video)

    The Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC), Mr Zhang Dejiang, visited the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Tseung Kwan O Aged Care Complex in Tseung Kwan O this morning (May 19) to meet senior citizens there and to learn more about the multi-pronged elderly care strategy adopted by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government in the face of an ageing society.

    Accompanied by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung; the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung; the Permanent Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Miss Annie Tam; the Director of Social Welfare, Ms Carol Yip; and the Director of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council, Dr Jane Lee, Mr Zhang toured the Day Care Centre for the Elderly and the District Elderly Community Centre in the complex.

    While touring the rehabilitation room, Mr Zhang noted that the centre had made good use of innovative technology to improve treatment. He was briefed by the physiotherapist on the use of an exoskeleton hand robotic training device in rehabilitation training activities and watched elderly persons doing physical exercise led by a cute innovative robot. Mr Zhang chatted with some elderly members participating in chess games and a tea art activity. Before his departure, Mr Zhang presented an elderly treadmill and a massage chair as his gifts for the centre, while senior citizen representatives presented a hand-made souvenir to Mr Zhang to express their gratitude for the state leader¡¦s care.

    Briefing the NPCSC Chairman during the visit, Mr Cheung stressed that poverty alleviation, elderly care and support for the disadvantaged are high on the agenda of the current-term HKSAR Government with substantial resources devoted to improving the people's livelihood and welfare. Total social welfare recurrent expenditure has increased by a significant 55 per cent from $42.6 billion in 2012-13 to an estimated $66.2 billion in this financial year, accounting for 19 per cent of the overall recurrent government expenditure.

    Mr Cheung pointed out that "active ageing" and "ageing in place as the core, institutional care as backup" are the cardinal principles underpinning the Government¡¦s elderly care policy strategy. On this basis a wide range of measures have been mapped out and implemented for the short, medium and long term.

    In terms of "active ageing", some 210 District Elderly Community Centres and Neighbourhood Elderly Centres have been set up throughout the territory for able-bodied elderly persons to enjoy support and leisure services with token membership fees. In recent years, the Government Public Transport Fare Concession Scheme for the Elderly and Eligible Persons with Disabilities was introduced to encourage elderly people to participate in the community. The Scheme has been very well received by the elderly, with average figures for daily passenger trips made by elderly people and eligible persons with disabilities amounting to over 836 000 and over 118 000 respectively. The Government's estimated expenditure on the Scheme in this financial year is around $1.1 billion.

    For the frail senior citizens requiring long-term care, community care services and supportive services for their carers are provided to enable the elderly to continue to stay in the community as far as possible, while residential care services are provided for those who, for health and other reasons, cannot be adequately taken care of at home.

    Mr Zhang noted that the HKSAR Government has been adopting a multi-pronged approach to enhance and improve the hardware and software of elderly care services, and embracing new thinking by implementing various pilot schemes with more diversified modes of service to meet the different needs of elderly people.

Ends/Thursday, May 19, 2016
Issued at HKT 11:39


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