Understanding ageing, old age and the aged

Mavis Wong

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A special scheme for students at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) is successfully promoting the integration of different generations, according to follow-up surveys.
 
Participating students and life mentors in the Inter-University Life Mentor Scheme generally agreed that the scheme fostered the integration of generations by enhancing mutual understanding.
 
The scheme, which has been running for four years, was extended to the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Polytechnic University last year. Participants on the scheme come from different major programmes, including social sciences, nursing, medicine, business management, electronic engineering, education and creative media.
 
It was revealed at a sharing session held on 17 June about the success of the scheme that participating students had previously thought elders were difficult to get along with.
 
But during the scheme, they said that listening to the life experience of these senior members of society, and hearing their views and values, was akin to attending inspiring history and philosophy courses.
 
The students added that the scheme had taught them the importance of keeping calm, being positive and searching for solutions when encountering difficulties.
 

Professor Way Kuo
, CityU President, Professor Lo Tit-wing, Head of CityU’s Department of Applied Social Sciences, Professor Alfred Chan Cheung-ming, Chairman of the Elderly Commission, and Dr Alice Chong Ming-lin, Initiator of the Scheme and Associate Professor of CityU’s Department of Applied Social Sciences, and a recipient of the Award for Teaching Excellence of the University Grants Committee, attended the event.
 
In his remarks at the event, Professor Kuo said the scheme exemplified CityU’s educational philosophy.
 
The learning experience raised students’ awareness about ageing problems and provided opportunities for young people to contribute to society by applying their knowledge and skills to help the aged, he said.
 
Professor Kuo said the scheme was not only a learning activity initiated by the Department of Applied Social Sciences; it was also a creative project for learning and practising. It is a meaningful project full of vitality.
 
Professor Chan said at the sharing session that we should review the definition of “elders” based on current trends in society and population. The World Health Organisation has defined a group of “new middle-aged” people with a new age classification. He hoped that similar activities could be held for the integration of generations in order to bring about change.
 
Details of Dr Chong’s research results will be published soon.

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