Supporting the Elderly
114. Strengthening elderly care is one of our core areas in building a caring community. To encourage our senior citizens to lead an enriched life, the Elderly Commission has tried, in the form of "cross-sectoral collaboration and inter-generational integration", to encourage self-help and mutual help among elders at the community level through the "Neighbourhood Active Ageing Project" in the past two years. The project facilitates the establishment of neighbourhood support networks between the elderly and local volunteers, enabling elders to become a new driving force in the community. I fully support this meaningful project, and will allocate an additional provision of $5 million in the next financial year to establish new networks in each district.
115. Research shows that learning has positive effect on elders' physical and mental well-being. The Elder Academy Scheme promoted by the Elderly Commission has been extended to seven tertiary institutions and 78 primary and secondary schools. They serve as an effective platform to promote lifelong learning through inter-generational interaction between the elderly and students. I propose to establish an Elder Academy Development Foundation,
co-sponsored by the Government and various sectors, to ensure the sustainable development of this scheme. To this end, I will allocate $10 million. I believe that the Chinese tradition of "education for all" should be broadened to "education for all ages".
116. We are in the digital era. We must not overlook the needs of the elderly on this front. The Government will co-ordinate the setting up of a dedicated portal for the elderly in the coming year to provide one-stop information service on elderly services and the silver hair market. Through this new portal and various computer courses offered by the Elder Academies, the elderly will enhance their computer knowledge and their ability to use digital services, expanding their circles of life through the Internet.
117. We will provide additional recurrent funding of about $37 million to residential care homes taking care of infirm elders and those with dementia. In addition, I will increase recurrent funding by about $55 million to provide a total of 650 additional subsidised residential care places through the Enhanced Bought Place Scheme and two new contract homes.