Chapter 2 Future Prospects of Elderly Housing Development
2.01 ‘Ageing in Place’ Given an general increase in living standards in Hong Kong, the mere provision of physical accommodation cannot meet aspirations of the elderly generation anymore. In recent years, the concepts of ‘ageing in place’ and ‘community care’ have emerged. These advocate housing provision with an integration of supporting services, allowing the elderly to stay in their own home for as long as possible. In Hong Kong, 81.4% of elderly people prefer to remain living at home instead of receiving residential care even when their health conditions deteriorate.1 Elderly people who stay connected to their community often have better psychosocial outcomes.2 The three elements empowering the idea of ‘ageing in place’ are housing safety, health and social care.
In public housing, most management staff are willing to handle elderly cases, but it is stressful to counsel those particularly who have special needs beacause of a heavy workload and insufficient training in social work. Fragmented elderly services provided by the government or NGOs are not enough to fully support those who are frail and at-risk.3 Disconnection between housing and care services makes it difficult for elderly residents to receive help. In recent years, public housing providers have provided more resources to coordinate management teams and social welfare service providers to encourage ‘ageing in place’.4