Elderly get helping hand from young techies

View Gallery 2 Photos

About 200 seniors have benefited from attending outreach English and math activities, and at-home training to improve their physical and psychological health by a program funded by the government.

Under the program of the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund, young instructors bring gerontechnology products to the elderly citizens' homes and teach them.

An elderly man said the program has broadened his mind, allowing him to practice his English and offer him an opportunity to have connections with young people.

Implemented by the Harmony Garden Lutheran Center for the Elderly, the program now has about 60 unemployed youths trained as instructors serving about 200 elders in Tuen Mun, Lam Tin, Tai Wai, Shau Kei Wan and San Po Kong.

"Through the integration of gerontechnology and occupational therapy, we are able to provide services that meet the needs of the elderly, so that the frail and disabled elderly can receive rehabilitation training at home," said the center's project officer, Bob Liu Chung-man.

He said after therapists select products that are readily available, such as portable equipment or games on tablets or smartphones, the instructors teach the elderly according to therapists' recommendations.

"Sometimes it is usually boring to simply walk around in the room, but it will increase the enjoyment if requiring the elderly to follow a lamplight while walking," Liu said.

Young instructors will first take the people's blood pressure and body temperature before starting training and upload the data to a rehabilitation database to monitor the elderly's physical condition changes to provide suitable training plans.

Liu said they are now considering extending services to more districts and continuing to attract more instructors.