Ageing population needs more support

Ageing population needs more support

After two elderly people died as they had no one to look after them, social workers say something needs to be done

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Those looking after elderly people don't get much help, even if they are older or fragile themselve
Photo: May Tse

Social workers have raised concerns about the care of elderly people, particularly in two-person households. Their worries come after an 84-year-old man in Tin Shui Wai, who used a wheelchair and needed support to eat, died as a result of the death of his 65-year-old son-in-law, who was his sole carer. Their deaths were not discovered until days later.

There are 78,581 households consisting of just two elderly people. There are also 124,659 two-person households with one person older than 65, and there are 393 households where a son or daughter older than 65 is a parent's sole carer.

Social work organisations criticised the government for ignoring the needs of those deemed "not frail enough" as well as individuals who were sole carers for the elderly.

Society for Community Organisation social worker Ng Wai-tung said there was little support for the carers of the elderly. "The government has no concern for the well-being of these carers. They could be a daughter, or an in-law, or a spouse. But these people take up the caring responsibility, even though many are getting old and fragile themselves."

Anirudh Kannan, 15, of South Island School, says there are risks involved in two-people households with elderly people. "There needs to be more of a structure to check on people, and better services. The government needs to be more stringent."

Anson Chan, 16, of Carmel Secondary School, says: "The government is not doing enough. They should invest more in elderly people."

But Allyson Yeh, 18, who recently graduated from St Paul's Convent School, thinks that the poor standard of elderly care is "inevitable". "The government doesn't spend on elderly people because they have no economic value," she says.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Ageing population needs more support

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