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Lingnan University holds a Jockey Club Age-friendly City Project Public Forum on ‘Enhancing Social Participation, From Young to Old’

26 Jun 2018

Jockey Club Age-friendly City Project Public Forum
Dr. Law Chi-kwong, Secretary for Labour and Welfare (7th left), Mr. Leong Cheung, Executive Director, Charities and Community, The Hong Kong Jockey Club (6nd left) and Prof. Joshua Mok Ka-ho, Vice-President and Director, Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies, Lingnan University (2nd right) take group photo with speakers and project partners.
Jockey Club Age-friendly City Project
Jockey Club Age-friendly City Project public forum attracts over 400 participants.

The Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies (APIAS), Lingnan University held a public forum underscoring the theme of ‘Enhancing Social Participation, From Young to Old’ today (26 Jun) at Ben C.M. Wong Lecture Theatre of Lingnan University. The aim was to explore the challenges and opportunities of enhancing social participation in Hong Kong.

The opening ceremony of the forum was performed by Mr. Leong CHEUNG, Executive Director, Charities and Community, The Hong Kong Jockey Club and Dr. LAW Chi-kwong, GBS, JP, Secretary for Labour and Welfare.

Jockey Club Age-friendly City Project (“JCAFC”) was initiated and funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust (“The Trust”) in 2015 to address the challenges of ageing population in Hong Kong in partnership with four gerontology research institutes in Hong Kong. The JCAFC team adopts a bottom-up and district-based approach, joining hands with various stakeholders in the community to build Hong Kong into an age-friendly city which can cater for the needs of all ages. This forum is the third open forum since the Project was launched.

Between July 2015 and September 2017, the JCAFC team conducted baseline assessment studies to measure the age-friendliness of 18 districts in Hong Kong. The study, involving more than 9,700 questionnaires and around 740 respondents in 91 focus groups, revealed that “Social Participation” was one of the highest scores among the eight domains of age-friendliness identified by the World Health Organization (“WHO”). The other seven domains are “Outdoor Spaces & Buildings”, “Transportation”, “Housing”, “Respect & Social Inclusion”, “Civic Participation & Employment”, “Communication & Information” and “Community Support & Health Services”.

At the forum, Prof. MOK Ka-ho, Joshua, Vice-President and Director, Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies, Lingnan University, shared the findings on “Social Participation" according to the baseline assessment studies. People participating in the studies were satisfied that there was a variety of accessible and affordable social activities available to cater to senior citizens. However, there is still room for improvement in areas where there are insufficient activity venues, and some activities do not allow some groups of people to participate. It is suggested that more barrier-free access for social participation should be promoted and  opportunities be increased for participation of senior citizens in remote or rural areas.

Mr. Cheung said the Club was delighted that this public forum served as an exchange platform for different stakeholders from the Government, business and welfare sectors, since many social issues could only be solved through cross-sectoral and cross-professional discussion and collaboration. “To promote an age-friendly culture in Hong Kong, we recently launched the Jockey Club Age-friendly City Partnership Scheme, which recognises merchants or organisations that introduce outstanding elderly and age-friendly measures, products and services,” he noted. “The scheme is also aimed at raising public awareness of the importance of an age-friendly city, and arousing respect and care towards the elderly in society.”

Another officiating guest Dr. Law Chi-kwong pointed out in his speech that Hong Kong is going to face the challenge of ageing population. “With the growing number of elderly people, demand for elderly care services will increase accordingly, and our service supply will also confront two major bottlenecks – shortage of manpower and land.”  He added that “to overcome this challenge we must work together, such as today’s public forum, to inspire and brainstorm for out-of-the-box, innovative solutions.”

A panel discussion chaired by Professor Mok followed, where speakers from Government, medical and social sectors, the elderly representative and over 400 stakeholders had a lively and inspirational discussion on “how to promote the participation of people of different age groups and build an age-friendly community”.

Apart from the speeches and panel discussion, the exhibition booths were set up along with the forum to introduce JCAFC and age-friendly concept, as well as share information and best practices of other countries in promoting age-friendly community, and to provide activity information on social participation. To know more about age-friendly social participation, please access the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/age.friendly.social.participation/

The key objectives of JCAFC are to build momentum in districts to develop an age-friendly community through an assessment of their respective age-friendliness; to recommend a framework for districts to undertake continual improvement for the well-being of our senior citizens; and to arouse public awareness and encourage community participation in building an age-friendly city. For details of JCAFC, please access the website http://www.jcafc.hk and the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HKJCAFC.