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SLW visits elderly home to extend Lunar New Year greetings (with photos)

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, visited the Salvation Army Hoi Tai Residence for Senior Citizens in Mong Kok this morning (February 1) to extend his warmest wishes to the elderly at the beginning of the Year of the Horse.

     Accompanied by the District Social Welfare Officer (Kowloon City/Yau Tsim Mong), Ms Wong Yin-yee, and the Chief Manager (Senior Citizen and Rehabilitation Services) of the Salvation Army, Ms Li Siu-fan, Mr Cheung joined the elderly residents to sing in celebration of the Lunar New Year and presented mandarins to them to wish them good health and fortune. He also toured around the facilities to extend warm regards to some frail residents.

     Mr Cheung said, "With a fast ageing population in Hong Kong, the Government attaches great importance to the well-being of our elderly citizens. We aim to create a social environment conducive to active ageing for those able-bodied elderly so that they can continue to contribute to society. For those with weaker physical condition, we are offering them the necessary support according to their different level of care needs under our policy objective - 'ageing in place as the core, institutional care as backup'."

     He noted that apart from strengthening and improving current elderly care services, the Government is also exploring new approaches to provide residential care services and offer our senior citizens wider choices.

     "We will launch a pilot scheme to purchase residential care places from an elderly home in Yantian, Shenzhen, which is operated by a Hong Kong welfare organisation to provide an option for elderly persons who are on the Central Waiting List for subsidised residential care places to live in the home concerned. Similar arrangement with another elderly home run by a Hong Kong welfare organisation in Zhaoqing is being explored.

     "We will also task the Elderly Commission to explore the feasibility of introducing vouchers for residential care service for the elderly in line with the concept of 'money follows users'. The Government has earmarked $800 million for the issue of 3 000 vouchers in three phases for the three-year period from 2015-16 to 2017-18. Taking these into account, about 5 000 additional subsidised residential care places will be provided within the current term of office of the Government," Mr Cheung said.

     "In addition, the Government will maximise the supply of service places for the elderly and persons with disabilities through the Special Scheme on Privately Owned Sites for Welfare Uses. The Scheme has drawn an overwhelming response with about 40 non-governmental organisations submitting some 60 preliminary proposals. Based on a rough estimate, about 17 000 additional service places could be provided. Of these, some 7 000 residential and 2 000 day-care places will be for the elderly whilst the rest will be for people with disabilities," he added.

     Before concluding the visit, Mr Cheung reminded the elderly of the good news that starting from today, the Old Age Allowance has risen to $1,180 per month while the Old Age Living Allowance has gone up to $2,285 each month.

Ends/Saturday, February 1, 2014
Issued at HKT 11:29


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