15% of 263 interviewed HK individuals object to children emigrating, leaving elderly parents behind

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29th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) A recent survey conducted by the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association revealed the challenges faced by elderly individuals in Hong Kong as their children choose to immigrate. The survey, which involved telephone interviews with 263 “elderly stay-at-home parents,” explored their acceptance of their children’s decision to leave the city and their ability to live independently. The findings indicated that nearly 70% of the interviewed elderly individuals accepted and were capable of living on their own while their children pursued opportunities abroad. However, 15% of the respondents expressed their disagreement with their children’s departure.

In light of these findings, organizations are urging children to engage in weekly video calls with their parents to alleviate feelings of loneliness and helplessness among the elderly population. Maintaining regular communication allows parents to feel connected and valued, reducing the negative impact of separation.

The Senior Citizen Home Safety Association conducted the survey earlier this year, targeting elderly individuals who had children or relatives residing overseas or working abroad. The majority of respondents (70%) demonstrated a positive attitude towards their children’s decision to leave, with nearly half of them actively maintaining communication with their overseas children. Additionally, 30% of the respondents expressed having personal hobbies and interests. However, the survey also highlighted that 15% of the elderly individuals interviewed did not accept their children’s departure. Among this group, 40% reported feelings of loneliness, while nearly 20% expressed concerns about their health.

Maura Wong, the CEO of the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association, commented on the changing dynamics resulting from the recent wave of emigration. She noted that more elderly individuals are accepting or adapting to their children and relatives leaving Hong Kong, compared to the peak immigration period between 2020 and 2021. Wong emphasized that acceptance among the elderly could be facilitated through regular communication, cultivating personal hobbies, receiving proper care, and maintaining an active social life. She urged children living abroad to make an effort to engage in weekly video calls with their parents, allowing them to feel cared for and minimising feelings of loneliness and helplessness.

To address the specific needs of individuals who are long-term residents of other locations or do not live with their parents, the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association has introduced a personalized care service called “OneLineCare® Over a Thousand Miles.” This service aims to provide insights into the physical and mental well-being of the elderly and their current living conditions. It offers priority home care visits and is complemented by the “OneLineCare Safety Bell” service, which includes personalized reports on elderly individuals’ health, medication adherence, and social interactions. Additionally, the service provides bi-monthly phone calls from dedicated staff to provide emotional support and arrange home care, companionship, cleaning, and rehabilitation services based on individual needs.