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Hong Kong should keep its elderly healthy and in work – not eligible for welfare

43 0 44
22.01.2019

With improved medical science and a rising standard of living, most countries have seen a steady increase in life expectancy. Someone born in Hong Kong today, for example, could expect to live about 12 years longer than their counterpart did in 1960 and will have much better access to welfare support as well as healthcare provisions.

At present, 17 per cent of the population in Hong Kong is aged 65 or above, with more than 1.2 million people in this age group.

Although population ageing is first and foremost an achievement of our societies, it has posed challenges to systems of welfare support, health and long-term care, education and environment, all of which require adjustments to the new realities of our societies. Population ageing is particularly challenging in Hong Kong because we have an ultra-low fertility rate of 1.1 children per woman, which is considerably lower than the population-replacement rate of 2.1 and will soon lead to a shrinking of our working-age population.

However, focusing on challenges only gives rise to anxieties and runs the risk of motivating policy reforms that neglect the immense opportunities that come with population ageing. Policies focused on active ageing, by contrast, tap into the potential of older Hongkongers, by giving them opportunities in the labour market, helping them in their social engagements to live an independent, healthy and secure life. Greater employment among older workers also reduces our........

© South China Morning Post