Innovative idea exchange for services for elderly

Mavis Wong

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Social entrepreneurs and social workers shared their experience of providing services for senior citizens with students at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) at the forum on “Incubating Social Innovation for Age-Related Challenges”. 
CityU students also introduced their services and plans developed for senior citizens at the forum, which was organised recently by CityU’s Department of Applied Social Sciences.
One of the points made at the forum was that more services and products suitable to the needs of the senior citizens were needed, said Dr Alice Chong Ming-lin, Associate Professor from the Department of Applied Social Sciences.
The rationale was that people aged 65 or over would make up around 30% of the local population by 2039, according to estimates from the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Government, but the consumer market for this section of society was currently focused mainly on health products, with only a limited variety of clothes, skin-care and leisure products, and household utilities.
Dr Chong said she hoped students could learn from the experience of professionals and come up with their own creative ideas to develop more services and products that satisfied the needs of elders.
The CityU students also used the forum to showcase IT projects that they had developed specifically for senior citizens, such as an interactive website called “New Generation of Seniors”.
Seniors could use sections called “New Image of Seniors”, “Wish Trees”, “Reflection on Life” and “Letters for the Future” on the website to enrich their lives and enhance communication with relatives and friends.
The students also held an activity titled “Health Day at CityU” which encouraged the seniors to do more exercise and know more about the lives of university students.
In addition, Mr Patrick Cheung Sui-lam, Founder of Jade Club Limited and Dialogue in the Dark Hong Kong Limited, delivered a talk titled “Innovative Development of Services for Elders” at the forum.
He talked about developing services for the elderly and encouraged students to explore the “grey hair” market. 
Mr Ivan Lin Wai-kiu, Project Development Manager of the Jade Club Limited, talked about living in a home for the elderly for three days. In order to experience the kinds of physical challenges that older people experience, he wore an experiential suit of clothes that restricted his movements.
He also shared stories that the senior had told him about the difficulties that they experience living in an old people’s home.


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