Professor Terry Lum Yat Sang
Henry G. Leong Professor of Social Work and Social
Administration; Head and Professor, Department of
Social Work and Social Administration, HKU
In 2011, every elderly person was supported by 5.4 working population. In 2041, there is going to be 1.8 working population supporting each elderly person. The challenge in the future is to ensure quality of care for and life of the elderly while sustaining social and economic development. And that is a role CoA plays in helping the government see what challenges are laying ahead and how to face them. As soon as we are born, we are ageing. We have to think about what makes life worth living, instead of the ageing itself, so that elderly citizens can find their lives worth living at various stages of their later years, regardless of ability and age. We all long for meaningful interactions and engagement, and what we have to do is to help older people rediscover something that makes them find life worth living! When a family member reaches the age of 90, we won't say, "oh, we have a big problem in our family;" instead we celebrate that. Why does growing older become "ageing", a problem in the sociological context? It all comes down to how our system is responding to individuals ageing and how our society accommodates ageing. With sufficient support, ageing can become an enjoyable experience; I don't see why ageing is a negative issue. It is our society that makes it an unenjoyable one.