#Hashtag Hong Kong



    Listen to #Hashtag Hong Kong every Sunday morning at 8.15

    Focussing on issues affecting civil society, we'll hear from representatives of NGOs, associations, statutory bodies, and non-profit groups.

    (Sundays 8.15am - 8.25am)



    Katie Wong, Chief Officer (Elderly Service) The Hong Kong Council of Social Service


    As the population ages, more people find caring for their elderly loved ones falling on their shoulders.  While the population of Hong Kong increased only by 5% between 2011 and 2021, the population of centenarians, people aged 100 or more, increased by more than 6 folds.


    In light of the rapid increase in the population of adults of advanced age, say nonagenarians and centenarians, in collaboration with The University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Shue Yan University, The Hong Kong Council of Social Service recently conducted the second round of the Hong Kong Centenarian Study (with the first round taking place in 2011) with 151 families and found that most caregivers of centenarians are their children, with many of them being between 65-74 years old (43%). 


    This phenomenon of “the elderly caring for even older seniors” is common in Hong Kong.  It poses significant challenges, including physical fatigue, emotional stress, social isolation, and financial burden, adversely impacting caregivers’ health and well-being.


    The biggest challenge faced by elderly caregivers is physical and mental fatigue.  Caring for a loved one requires a lot of strength and energy, which can be even more taxing for elderly caregivers with health issues.  They may have to frequently lift or support a frail loved one, provide assistance in daily living, and perform other tasks that can strain their bodies continually.


    Emotional stress is another challenge, particularly when caring involves complex or arduous needs.  For example, tending to a loved one with dementia or other cognitive impairments requires infinite patience and constant attention, which can be frustrating and overwhelming. Many caregivers wish to see their older loved ones through and are motivated to provide as much care to their older relatives as possible. Despite such high motivation to care, their strains may elevate to a point where their mental and physical health is compromised, which is when nursing home placements are considered.


    Caregivers may also feel isolated and burnt out, as they often have to sacrifice socialising with friends and family or their interests.  This can spiral into depression and anxiety, further exacerbating their struggles.


    The financial burden is another challenge that elderly caregivers may grapple with, especially those who are retired and living on a fixed income.  In other words, their financial resources, whether from their own children or governmental subsidies, are often shared with their older loved ones. The study mentioned above showed that 83.2% of caregivers had a monthly income below $30,000, and 70.5% of respondents earned below the poverty line of $20,000 for a 4-person household (CSD, 2020).  48.3% of caregivers expressed financial pressure.


    So, what can be done to aid elderly caregivers facing these problems? Here are a few suggestions:


    1)            Seeking out community resources, including respite care, support groups, and counselling services.  Elderly caregivers should also reach out to family and friends for help, as small gestures can make a big difference.


    2)            It is also essential for caregivers to prioritise their health and well-being by taking time for themselves, pursuing hobbies and interests, or getting mental health support when needed.  Caregivers who look after themselves are better equipped to watch over their loved ones in the long run.


    3)            Sometimes, it may be necessary to hire a professional caregiver to assist with the needs of a loved one.  With the advance in technology, some products help, such as fall prevention equipment and health-monitoring smart devices. Caregiver subsidies or financial subsidies for using Gerontechnology in the community would help.


    Taking care of an elderly loved one can be arduous and emotionally draining, particularly for caregivers themselves, seniors.  By seeking out available resources, asking for help from family and friends, being mindful of self-care, and appraising professional assistance, elderly caregivers can get the support they need to navigate the challenges and provide the best care possible for their loved ones.


    And now I have a song I'd like to dedicate to all of you listening. My song is: You’ve Got a Friend by Carole King


    04/06/2023 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)


    04 - 06


    Katie Wong, Chief Officer (Elderly Service) The Hong Kong Council of Social Service


    Joyce Fung, co-founder of Free Periods Hong Kong


    Wong Suet-mei, Conservation Officer, The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society


    Lena Wong, Founder & Executive Director of HK Momtrepreneurs


     Dr Elisabeth Wong, Specialist in Psychiatry and Honorary Secretary of Mental Health Foundation


    Kiann Wong, Assistant Chief Executive of S.K.H. St. Christopher’s Home


    James Chong, Founder & CEO, Rolling Books


     Dr. Jian Yang, Programme Coordinator of the HKU Body Donation Programme


    (L to R ) Larra Chung, Vice- Chairperson (internal) and Connie Wong, Vice-chairperson (external) of Hong Kong Parkinson’s Disease


    Si Si Liu, Director Hong Kong Federation of Women’s Centres

    Dr Polly Cheung, Founder, Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation

    October is the month dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness around the world. Pink ribbons, banners and posters pop up in many shops and corners in the city. The Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation holds its annual Pink Walk and Pink Together event, to raise awareness of breast cancer among the public and encourage people to adopt a healthier life style, including doing more exercise, eat healthily, avoid smoking and alcohol, and learn to relieve stress.
    Breast cancer awareness has two parts. One, is to note any change in the breasts, such as lumps, skin changes, sudden enlargement or asymmetry. Second, is to undergo regular mammography screening.
    Breast cancer is an important health hazard to Hong Kong women. It has persistently been the most common cancer affecting Hong Kong women for 28 years since 1994. According to the latest figures from the Hong Kong Cancer Registry in 2019, 1 in 14 women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. Every day, 13 people are newly diagnosed and 2 die of breast cancer.  
    Early detection saves lives. Breast cancer screening can detect early breast cancers which may not be palpable, and thereby reduce mortality. Mammography screening is available in at least 34 countries in the world, including UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, USA, many European and South American countries. In Asia, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan have government-funded breast cancer screenings. In mainland China, dual cancer screening for women, namely cervical and breast cancer, is advocated and supported by the Government, especially in the rural areas. 
    Successful breast cancer screening can detect 5-10 cases of breast cancer for every 1,000 persons. The Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation has provided breast cancer screening services to 85,000 women since 2011 at their Breast Health Centers. Out of 1,000 asymptomatic women, 7 were found to have breast cancer, the detection rate is similar to international figures. 
    In Taiwan, results from their breast screening program are very encouraging. For the 1.5 million women who received regular mammography screening in the past two decades, breast cancer staging II and above was reduced by 30%, and the death rate was reduced by 40%.
    In the past years, the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation has submitted policy address proposal to the Chief Executive, advocating a three-phase approach to breast cancer screening: first, to implement regular screening for high-risk women; second, to provide free screening for low-income women; and thirdly, based on data from the first and second phase, to work towards universal breast cancer screening.
    Today, Hong Kong has taken an important step in breast screening. The Department of Health has launched a Breast Cancer Screening Pilot Scheme in September 2021, offering two yearly mammography screening to average risk women. The program adopts a risk-based approach. Women between the ages of 44 and 69, are considered high risk if they have any of the following risk factors, namely a first degree relative having breast cancer, obesity, lack of physical activity, first menstrual period at the age 11 or earlier, never had a baby, had their first child after age 30, or had a history of benign breast disease. They can also use the breast cancer risk assessment tool developed by the University of Hong Kong to calculate their own individualized breast cancer risk. If they are in the 25% highest risk category, they will be eligible for government subsidized breast screening, with access to government-funded mammography examinations at the three Women's Health Centres, run by the Department of Health.
    In Hong Kong, more than 1.5 million women are aged between 44 and 69. According to statistics from the Department of Health, more than half of the adults do not exercise enough. Considering physical inactivity alone as a risk factor for breast cancer, at least 750,000 women will be eligible for risk based screening. Adding other risk factors to reach the highest 25% risk category, at least 187,500 women should be offered two yearly breast screening. The Government needs to encourage participation of NGOs and private medical institutions through public-private partnership, to provide adequate screening services to the public.
    In this October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I urge you to turn knowledge into action, examine your breast health and start regular breast screening. And, support our Pink Together 2022 campaign. This year, we encourage women to do more exercise and to donate for the worthy cause of mitigating the breast cancer threat in Hong Kong.


    02/10/2022 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    02/10/2022 - Dr Polly Cheung, Founder, Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation

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