Students in home visits to the elderly

Jo Kam

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About 50 students from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) volunteered to visit 40 elderly residents in their private homes so that they could better enjoy the Lunar Chinese New Year. The students helped them clean their houses before the festival. From November to January, they visited the elderly three times to offer their kind assistance.

Mr Chan was one of the senior residents visited. He was to undergo heart surgery a few days after the students’ first visit. On learning about this, the students encouraged and comforted Mr Chan by promising to come again and see him after his operation. They did so when Mr Chan returned home after a successful surgery. Mr Chan told the students that their visit had given him emotional support that helped him overcome worries and fears.

Ms Cheung, another senior citizen, was very pleased to chat with the young students that visited. They taught her origami to exercise her hands and brain. An appreciative Ms Cheung invited the students to dinner at her place, and finally the young people gave her their phone numbers and promised to stay in touch.

Another senior, Ms Lau, built up a close relationship with the students after two visits. Remembering the date the students had promised to visit and help her clean the house, she did much of the job in advance to make their work much easier.

The visits were arranged by CityU’s Social Service Team with the help of the Kwai Fong Youth S.P.O.T. Future Volunteer Team. Vincent Hung Chun-cheung and So Cheung-lee, internal vice chairman and promotions secretary of CityU’s Social Service Team respectively, helped organise the project and witnessed many touching scenes. Both felt the visits had proved very meaningful and would enable students to learn about caring and offering assistance to seniors.

“Most organisations schedule visits to the elderly people only once a year. We felt that was not enough, so we organised three trips in order to better understand the needs of the seniors living alone. This has helped build a mutual trust between the seniors and volunteers and allowed the students to retain contact for future visits,” said Vincent, a Year 2 student of the Department of Building and Construction.

So Cheung-lee, a Year 2 student from the Department of Electronic Engineering, said, “When one group of volunteers visited a senior’s house, they found it dirty and messy as it obviously had not been cleaned for a long time. The toilet had a water tank so badly damaged that it could not flush. Disregarding the poor condition, the volunteers worked very hard with strong detergents and tools and managed to give the house a good cleaning.”

University students have a civic responsibility to take their time to help people in need, the students said. After joining the Social Service Team, they travelled to a remote village in mainland China for a four-day visit. They encouraged fellow students to join their team to offer voluntary services and spread the spirit of community care.


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