Professor Nelson Chow Wing Sun
Emeritus Professor, Department of Social Work
and Social Administration, HKU
I began my research on elderly services in the 1980s and my doctoral thesis was about retirement security. Back then ageing wasn't an issue that got everybody's attention, and there were not that many facilities providing elderly care services. From its establishment, CoA has been taking the leading role in elderly policy decision research. We have from years ago proposed the concept of community service support vouchers, laying ground work for the current Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme. We have to know one thing: ageing is not only a problem for the poor, but for all people. I think in the future we have to focus on several aspects as we try to turn old age into a joyful age. No one can resist ageing and the older we get, the more needs we'll have. No one can rely on him/herself entirely, and no one can have a joyful later life just relying on family or the government. That's why a sense of shared responsibility is so important. Support comes in different shapes, like we can get relationship and mental support from our families. The value shared among the society is another concern; we have long considered old age as unproductive, especially in the financial sense. But times are changing. While an elderly member of society shall no longer command respect simply for the fact that he/she is old, he/she shall not be seen as worthless because he/she can be still productive. We all have to learn to be an elder.