Positive Ageing & Elderly Care
Warmth in the pocket
As the pandemic wore on, it became apparent to Tammy Leung, Elderly Services Director at the Aberdeen Kai-fong Welfare Association, that many elderly people urgently needed to get their own smartphones. In December 2021, it became mandatory to use the LeaveHomeSafe app to dine in at restaurants as the government sought to improve contact tracing as part of a tightening of anti-pandemic measures.
“Many poor elderly folks don’t own a smartphone. Without one, their daily routines and social life are seriously disrupted,” Leung said.
Prompt to take action, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust partnered with 12 non-government organisations and four mobile network service providers to launch the Jockey Club Digital Support Project for the Elderly. Eligible elderly persons each received a smartphone with a year-long data plan. Social workers have also provided them with ‘user training’. Around 20,000 underprivileged elderly people will benefit from the project.
“Elderly people don’t typically get the hang of a smartphone after just a few tries, especially if they don’t have children to show them how to navigate one,” Leung said. “Social welfare organisations like ours have a duty to follow up and make sure the elderly are able to use a smartphone.”
After mastering the LeaveHomeSafe app, many elderly people are eager to learn more, such as how to check the weather forecasts and real-time traffic information. Others have learned to make video calls with their children abroad.