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- Community Support Services for the Elderly

Highlights of the Year 2020-21

Community Support Services for the Elderly

 
DEMENTIA COMMUNITY SUPPORT SCHEME
 
The Health Bureau (formerly the Food and Health Bureau), in collaboration with the Hospital Authority (HA) and SWD, launched a two-year pilot scheme, named as “Dementia Community Support Scheme” in February 2017 to provide appropriate support services to elderly persons with mild or moderate dementia in the community through a medical-social collaboration model.  The Government has regularised the pilot scheme since February 2019, and expanded it to all the 41 District Elderly Community Centres (DECCs) and 7 HA clusters throughout the territory since May 2019.  It is estimated that over 2 000 elderly persons will receive the services each year.
   
  DEMENTIA FRIENDLY COMMUNITY CAMPAIGN

In September 2018, SWD launched a three-year Dementia Friendly Community Campaign with an aim of promoting public awareness on dementia.  A series of programmes under the Campaign include broadcasting television and radio announcements of public interest, developing a thematic webpage, commissioning the Hong Kong Alzheimer’s Disease Association to organise internationally recognised “Dementia Friends” Information Sessions, producing television episodes on dementia, organising a major highlight event, movie screenings and related district activities.  The goal is to build a dementia friendly community for persons with dementia and their carers.  In view of the positive feedback and support from different sectors of society since the implementation of the Campaign, SWD has extended the Campaign till March 2023.
   
SUPPORT FOR CARERS PROJECT

To strengthen support for needy elderly persons and their carers and encourage community participation, SWD launched a three-year “Support for Carers Project” in October 2018 and invited property management companies to join.  The Project aims to provide basic training to frontline property management personnel, so as to equip them with knowledge on how to identify and assist needy elderly persons and carers.  They are also provided with information on welfare services in the community, so that they may make use of the community resources when necessary to support ageing in place for elderly persons.  In view of the positive feedback and support from different sectors of society since the implementation of the Project, SWD has extended the Project till March 2023.
   
PILOT SCHEME ON LIVING ALLOWANCE FOR CARERS OF ELDERLY PERSONS FROM LOW INCOME FAMILIES

The Government launched the Pilot Scheme on Living Allowance for Carers of Elderly Persons from Low-income Families in June 2014 with a view to providing carers of elderly persons from low- income families with a living allowance to help supplement their living expenses, so that the elderly persons in need of long-term care can, with the assistance of their carers, receive proper care and continue to age in place in a familiar community.  Phase III of the Pilot Scheme was rolled out in October 2018 for a period of 2 years and further extended for 6 months till the end of March 2021.  Phase IV of the Pilot Scheme was rolled out in April 2021 for a period of 30 months till the end of September 2023, with various improvement measures.  The total number of beneficiaries under the 4 phases of the Pilot Scheme is 8 000.
   
PREVENTION AND HANDLING OF ELDER ABUSE

In 2001, SWD set up a multi-disciplinary Working Group on Elder Abuse (WGEA) to examine jointly the phenomenon of elder abuse in Hong Kong and advise on strategies and ways of handling elder abuse.  The WGEA has been focusing on enhancing community awareness on elder abuse, including the awareness of frontline professionals of relevant disciplines.  Building upon the foundation of existing services, the work focus has evolved from a remedial-oriented approach to a more preventive approach such as identifying risk factors of elder abuse cases and formulating preventive measures; and SWD’s major foci include providing support to carers of frail elderly persons.  In view of the development of welfare services, SWD updated the “Procedural Guidelines for Handling Elder Abuse Cases” in March 2021 in order to better facilitate relevant government departments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in handling elder abuse cases.
   
OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE ELDERLY PROJECT

Under the Opportunities for the Elderly Project, social service organisations, district organisations and educational institutes, etc. are subsidised to organise a wide range of programmes to promote positive and active ageing in the community.  Due to the epidemic, the “One-Year Project” for 2020- 21 has been postponed to 2021-22, and the “Two-Year Project” for 2020-22 has commenced progressively since November 2020.
   
PILOT SCHEME ON TRAINING FOR FOREIGN DOMESTIC HELPERS IN ELDERLY CARE

SWD, in collaboration with the Department of Health (DH) and DECCs, launched the Pilot Scheme on Training for Foreign Domestic Helpers in Elderly Care in March 2018 with a view to improving the basic knowledge and strengthening the skills of foreign domestic helpers (FDHs) in taking care of frail elderly persons, so as to enhance elderly persons’ quality of life in the community and support ageing in place.  Phase I of the Pilot Scheme provided a total of 300 training places.  DECCs also arranged care services or activities for needy elderly persons when their FDHs received training.  The training courses under Phase I of the Pilot Scheme were completed in May 2019.  A total of 375 FDHs were recruited and 344 of them completed all core courses under the Pilot Scheme.  In view of the positive feedback, SWD extended Phase I of the Pilot Scheme to September 2021, providing an additional 950 training places.


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