The Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies (APIAS) of Lingnan University (LU) in Hong Kong had successfully hosted the Care for Carers and Ageing in Place: The Way Forward for Carer Support Policy and Service Forum on 10th November to present the findings of Care for Carers and Ageing-in-Place research projects and explore future policies and practices for tackling the needs of informal carers. Nearly 70 representatives from influential social welfare organisations, social enterprises and LU students joined the forum.
Prof Dickson Chan Chak-kwan, Director of APIAS, expressed his gratitude to all distinguished guests and participants in his welcome speech. He emphasised that the two research projects adopted a co-production approach by involving students in doing interviews, analysing data, writing research reports and presenting the findings at the forum. Through the research projects, the day-to-day experiences of caregivers and their needs could be presented to policy makers, welfare practitioners and the public with the aim of making policy changes and creating a society with love and care.
Four Lingnan students presented the findings of Ageing-in-Place and Care for Carers at the forum. Kwong Ka-chung and Lorraine Leung reported the difficulties faced by older people in using information technology and community services, while Lai Wai-ching and Pang Ka-man drew our attention to challenges faced by carers of cancer and psychiatric patients such as enormous caregiving pressures and limited formal support services. Students demonstrated excellent ability to conduct evidence-based research to inform policy makers and service providers about the present practices and policies regarding caregiver and community services.
Lawmaker Dr Tik Chi-yuen, Director of The Hong Kong Institute of Family Education, emphasised the significance of having a clear definition on carers so that relevant services can be delivered. He also urged all stakeholders to collaborate more often to enhance community support and develop appropriate policies and services for carers.
Mr Raymond Lai Kwan-ho, Business Director of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, pointed out that various measures proposed in the latest Policy Address to support carers were an important start. The community should continue to discuss ways to recognise and assist families of high-risk carers and establish a case management model.
Ms Tammy Chan Yee-ching, Chairperson of the Salvation Army Carer Association and a member of Elderly Commission, said the community should provide adequate and effective services, financial assistance and education to create a carer-friendly society.
Ms Rita Lam Yu-kiu, an experienced social worker, stressed the importance of thinking of the identities and responsibilities of caregivers from a more positive angle, acknowledging their knowledge and tenacity and making them feel proud of their efforts.
Student representative, Ms Angel Chan Hiu-tung, shared the experience of taking part in the project and reflected that the planning of community service should truly comprehend the perspectives and needs of caregivers.
A panel discussion chaired by Prof Dickson Chan was held following the invited speakers’ presentations. The invited speakers and the participants had a very lively discussion about ways to enhance both public and private caregiver services and create a more supportive society.
At the conclusion of this successful event, Prof Dickson Chan thanked all invited speakers and participants for their contribution and participation and hoped that the forum would be helpful to improve services for carers in the future.
Sponsored by Thanksgiving Research Fund for Ageing, Care for Carers and Ageing-in-Place projects have been run by Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies since March 2020. Both projects have served over 200 people, with more than 100 students having participated in the projects.