1 Corinthians 13: 1 & 13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

30 September 2011

Elderly problems in Hong Kong (7B Many Chud)

Nowadays, elderly people face many difficulties, such as poverty, unemployment and lack of retirement protection. There is an increasing number of elderly people who rely on the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance from the Government for their livelihood. Moreover, reports of physical and psychological abuse of old people by family members are on the rise. In this essay, I would like to discuss the difficulties elderly people face nowadays and suggest ways that the Government, community groups and families can do to solve the problems.

First of all, many elderly people suffer from different chronic diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease. When people are getting old, their body functions may become worse; they may easily suffer from various illnesses. What is more, their immune system may become weaker; once they suffer from an illness, it usually takes a long time for them to recover. Thus, health problems are one of the challenges elderly people have to face.

Secondly, the elderly are experiencing a changing lifestyle. When people retire, their lifestyle change; they will have more free time than before. If they do not have any interests or hobbies or they simply have nothing to do, they will feel bored and some, especially males, may find themselves useless. Emotional problems may occur and this will in turn affect their physical condition.

Thirdly, some elderly people are living in poverty. It is not uncommon to see elderly people scavenge paper boxes and cans on the street. These elderly people have to rely on scavenging to maintain their livelihood. They are helpless and lonely people. Some may think they had not saved enough money for retirement, but this is not true. The truth is they were very hardworking people when they were young, but because of high inflation rate, the money they had saved shrank in value. Whatever the reason is, the problem of poverty is still haunting some of our elderly people.

The above three are just some of the difficulties elderly people face. Now, I would like to put forward some suggestions as to how the Government, community groups and families can help.

First, medical services are very important, especially in an aging population. It is vital for the Government to expand its medical services so that all the elderly get the treatment they need. With the expansion, the waiting time for a consultation in public hospitals can also be shortened, which means the elderly do not have to spend hours waiting and thus have more time to rest. Also, if there is more manpower in the public health care system, I suggest that a body check be given to the elderly once a year so that early symptoms of different diseases can be detected. A strong and capable health care system is essential to ensure a healthy aging community.

Second, the Government should expand the budget for social security schemes for the elderly. The elderly had contributed a lot to society when they were young; they should enjoy a happy life in their old age without worrying about money. The Government should also build more nursing homes for the aged so as to provide those who are unable to take care of themselves with nursing care. Different community groups can also help to ease the elderly problems by being more involved in elderly services. They can organize more activities and short trips for the elderly. Home visit is also a very important part in elderly services. The community groups can visit the elderly, especially those who are living in solitude, chat with them and help them buy daily necessities so that they feel love and care.

According to a recent survey, the elderly wish to spend time with their family more than anything else. So, family members should spend more time with them. Having a meal with them or chatting with them already makes them very happy. The elderly face different challenges in their life and they may need help from the government or community groups, but it is the love and care from their family that they want most.

To give the elderly a better, dignified life, the Government, community groups and families should join hands and work together. The Government should expand its medical services and elderly services in order to improve the living condition of the elderly; community groups should be more involved in elderly services; families should spend more time with their elderly and take better care of them. The elderly people are facing a lot of problems and it is everyone’s responsibility to try to ease these problems. I believe with concerted efforts we will build a warm and loving environment for the elderly.

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