Volunteers visit senior public housing tenants

More than 2,000 volunteers sent their warm regards on February 15 to about 800 elderly tenants living alone in 50 public housing estates.

The initiative ‘Volunteer for Seniors Day’ is co-organised by HOPE Worldwide and the Housing Authority (HA). This is the thirteenth year that the two organisations jointly arrange volunteers and professional social workers to visit the elderly during the festive Chinese New Year days.

During the home visits, social workers and trained volunteers would make use of the chance to assess physical conditions of the elderly. Those identified as fragile, having high risk of fall or wheelchair-bound would be referred to appropriate institutions for follow up services. Some cases would be referred to occupational therapists who would then make recommendations to the Housing Department for home modifications or supporting facilities as required.

While officiating at the kick-off ceremony of ‘Volunteer for Seniors Day 2009’, the Chairman of the HA, Ms Eva Cheng, said: “ ‘Respecting and caring for the elderly’ has always been one of the guiding principles of the HA’s housing policies. We hope that our public housing programme can provide them with a caring and decent living environment.”

In response to the government’s ‘ageing in place’ policy, the HA enhanced its housing schemes fostering harmonious families at the end of 2007. Some of the requirements for adding household members or transfer were relaxed in order to encourage more young families to take care of their elderly parents.

Up to end of 2008, more than 7,000 families, including sitting tenants and applicants on the Waiting List, have benefited from the new measures. Among them, 2,800 have been allowed amalgamation of tenancy, addition of family members to their tenancy or transfer, meaning less elderly people being left alone in public housing units.

The scheme encouraging public housing applicants to live with their elderly family members was also enhanced last October. The waiting time for such applicants has been advanced by six months.

Before setting off, about 2,000 volunteers carrying the packs of fortune for the senior tenants pictured with the Chairman of the Housing Authority, Ms Eva Cheng.
Before setting off, about 2,000 volunteers carrying the packs of fortune for the senior tenants pictured with the Chairman of the Housing Authority, Ms Eva Cheng.

Source: GovHK (www.gov.hk)