Research & Impact
20 Sep 2019
Lingnan and Wuyi University teamed up to establish Joint Research Centre on Ageing in Place
Honorable guests Mr Liu Yi, Mayor of Jiangmen City (left 5); Mr Li Weimin, Member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Jiangmen Municipal Committee (right 3); Mr Wu Rongzhi, Chairman of Wuyi University Council (right 2); Mr Li Aikang, deputy Party Secretary (right 1), together with Prof Joshua Mok Ka-ho, Vice President of Lingnan University (left 3), Prof Dickson Chan Chak-kwan, the Director of Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies (left 2) and Ms Sharon Tam Siu-lan, Head of Office of Research Support to witness the Collaboration Agreement Signing Ceremony between Prof Leonard K Cheng, President of Lingnan University (left 4) and Prof Zhang Kun, Party Secretary of Wuyi University (right 4).
Ageing population is a worldwide problem to which different parts of the world are trying to find solutions today, and Hong Kong is no exception. In recent years, efforts have been made to encourage retirees to move to stay in the mainland China, given that Hong Kong is one of the cities forming the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. Against this background, Lingnan University has teamed up with Wuyi University in Jiangmen, Guangdong Province, to set up the Joint Research Centre on Ageing in Place in order to study elderly policies in the mainland and Hong Kong and give recommendations to the authorities. Earlier, the two universities held a Collaboration Agreement Signing Ceremony. Professor Leonard K Cheng, President of Lingnan University; Liu Yi, Mayor of Jiangmen City; Professor Zhang Kun, Party Secretary of Wuyi University; Wu Rongzhi, Chairman of the Council of Wuyi University; and Li Aikang, Deputy Party Secretary of Wuyi, were among the guests attending the important ceremony that marked the beginning of a meaningful joint effort.
Regarding the collaboration, Professor Cheng said: “Social policy and social service have always been a key research area at Lingnan. The Joint Research Centre brings together all the outstanding teaching and research staff of both universities to generate positive impact on society in different ways while addressing the needs of China’s development.”
Government’s elderly care support to be further improved
Ageing population is a problem faced by both Hong Kong and the mainland China. As the development of cross-border transport links is making it easier than ever for people to travel between Hong Kong and the mainland, more and more elderly people in Hong Kong are attracted to move to live in the mainland. According to Professor Dickson Chan Chak-kwan, Director of Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies, ageing in place in the mainland China involves policies and services in different cities. Through various research work, we are able to have a deeper understanding of the policy differences between Hong Kong and the mainland. Professor Chan added that the Joint Research Centre will compare ageing in place policies in Hong Kong and the mainland, analysing their policies, service and future development. The research findings will serve as reference materials for both sides.
While the Hong Kong government is committed to promoting the ageing in place policy, its effectiveness needs to be improved. Professor Chan said: “The policy relies on adequate community support. Yet at present more than 12,000 elderly people in Hong Kong are on the waiting list for subsidised community care services. The waiting time is 19 months. Meanwhile, some districts are still not ready for providing community care services to elderly people. All this means the Ageing-in-Place scheme is not effective enough.”
Researchers of both universities conduct in-depth research
The establishment of the Joint Research Centre represents the collective efforts of Lingnan and Wuyi to find a long-term solution to the problem of ageing population. The two institutions have respectively appointed seven and four researchers to investigate the elderly policies of Hong Kong and the mainland China. Professpr Chan noted that many of these researchers are experts in sociology and elderly care and, therefore, can produce hight quality of analysis and give appropriate recommendations. The researchers include Professor Leung Wing-nang, a Chinese medicine practitioner, Professor David Phillips and Professor Ray Forrest, who have all made notable achievements in their fields.
Cooperation between Lingnan and Wuyi will not only strengthen research work on certain policies and practical issues of Hong Kong and Jiangmen, but also provide many opportunities for Lingnan students to visit the Guangdong city and carry out academic exchanges and work as interns. “Through the Joint Research Centre, Lingnan students can take part in exchange activities in Jianmen and have a better understanding of Jiangmen’s elderly policy and other social services,” Professor Chan explained. “Lingnan is running health and social services management programmes, and the students can visit Jiangmen and work as interns in different organisations. They can put their knowledge on elderly care into practice and also know the implementation of elderly care services in the mainland.”
Jockey Club Gerontech-X Lab established in November
Apart from setting up the Joint Research Centre on Ageing in Place, Lingnan has recently established the Jockey Club Gerontech-X Lab on the campus. The lab houses the latest and technology related elderly care products . It is hoped that the products will be introduced to the social welfare sector and ultimately benefit elderly people.