In his inaugural lecture entitled “Population Ageing in the Asia-Pacific: Challenges and Lessons Learned to Move Forward with an Active Ageing Policy Framework” on 22 March, Prof Alfred Chan Cheung-ming, Chair Professor of Social Gerontology and Director of Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies and the Office of Service-Learning at Lingnan University, reported policy directives initiated by key international organisations and explored the phenomenon of population ageing in the region.
Prof Chan pointed out that one-third of the working population will be aged 45-64 in 40 years, hence the elderly could no longer be seen as “those without contribution” to society. Healthy and active senior citizens can be encouraged to participate in volunteer services and even policy-making in such areas as health care promotion in the community, lifelong learning through inter-generational platform, and the transfer of knowledge, experience and skills to the younger generations.
Ageing seems more acute in Asia-Pacific because it is difficult for countries in the region to levy heavy taxes to support high pension and elderly services as their Western counterparts do, there is little time to set up the infrastructure to meet the needs of ageing, and a wide income gap exists between urban and rural areas. Prof Chan believes that governments should allocate extra budget for primary healthcare services, and invest in special health development projects such as early identification of diseases, self-care education for chronic disease patients and their families, as well as the prevention of senile dementia in the community. Elderly services should be provided on a need rather than right basis, and paid by those who can afford them. A means test should also be in place to provide a safety net for those in need.
Prof Chan concluded his lecture by calling on governments to promote money-saving and healthy lifestyles from a younger age, in order to help people secure better prospects for the future.
Please visit http://www.library.ln.edu.hk/find/lectures-seminars to view Prof Chan’s inaugural lecture.