In this file photo dated July, 2020, people exercise at a park in Hong Kong, South China. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
Over 80 percent of elderly people in Hong Kong want to enjoy retirement in Chinese mainland cities within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, according to a survey released by the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions on Thursday.
The trade union suggested the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government purchase more residential care home places in nearby mainland cities and strengthen collaboration with mainland community facilities to offer better elderly care support.
Wong Kwok-kin, honorary president of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, suggested that the Hong Kong SAR government expand the Residential Care Services Scheme in Guangdong to include more GBA cities like Zhongshan and Guangzhou
According to the survery, which interviewed 2,004 Hong Kong residents from June 19 to July 3, nearly 40 percent of respondents who expressed a high desire to retire across the border currently reside in self-owned private buildings or self-owned public housing in Hong Kong.
Tsang Chi-man, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, said this suggests that respondents in a relatively better financial state are willing to choose mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area as their retirement destination, or that respondents in a better financial state have more choices for future or current retirement arrangements.
The biggest concerns for Hong Kong residents, who plan to move to mainland elderly care facilities, are the fear of being unable to afford medical expenses in the mainland, inadequate daily support from care facilities, and difficulties in transportation for family and friends to visit them because of the long distance involved, according to the survey.
Wong Kwok-kin, honorary president of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, suggested that the Hong Kong SAR government expand the Residential Care Services Scheme in Guangdong to include more GBA cities like Zhongshan and Guangzhou.
Under the current program, elderly people on Hong Kong’s Central Waiting List for subsidized care and attention places can choose to live in two residential care homes in Shenzhen and Zhaoqing, that are operated by two NGOs from Hong Kong.
Wong said HKFTU recently conducted inspections in Guangzhou and found that local tertiary hospitals have comparable standards to those in Hong Kong, with better air quality and facilities.
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Additionally, publicly funded elderly care services in the Chinese mainland cost around 5,000 yuan ($700) or less, which is half of the price in Hong Kong.
HKFTU chairman Kingsley Wong Kwok also called for an expansion of the elderly health care voucher pilot program, allowing Hong Kong’s elderly to use it for health checks, medical examinations and other related services in mainland.
He also recommends strengthening community medical facilities to ensure that elderly people in the mainland can receive services comparable to those provided by Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority.
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