"Ageing population" and "youth entrepreneurship" seem to have no correlation, but Ray and four old classmates (Lawrence, Vincent, Ken and Tony) link them up through "social innovation", using their expertise in interior design to facilitate "ageing in place".
The idea stemmed from the experience of Lawrence whose father suffered from end-stage cancer. As recommended by doctors and therapists, he decided to let his father spend his last days at home, but he found it difficult to follow the instructions of the medical report for home modifications, the lack of which led to his father getting hurt in bathing. The regrettable failure to provide the best care in the old man's last days prompted Ray, Lawrence and their classmates to set up Longevity Design House (Longevity) in 2015. Focusing on "elderly housing", the team strives to help elderly age at home by offering interior design and maintenance service.
Ray admitted that the initial development of Longevity was anything but smooth. "The choice of elderly as the target beneficiaries wasn't well received in both the commercial and social welfare sectors, and it was hard for a startup to earn elderly' trust." Yet the increasing awareness of "ageing in place" helps Longevity gain media coverage. With the support of an individual investor, Longevity Technology was set up in 2017 to develop gerontechnology products. Longevity has served about 400 elderly households and trained up students of the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education as technicians who are contributing to elderly home improvement projects. Sharing their experience of running a startup, the team is keen to collaborate with other startups to strengthen research and development of smart home products. "We look forward to fostering more cross-sectoral collaborations in the future, and hope that with the application of technology and medical services more elderly will be able to choose to age in place."
- The SIE Fund is funding the startup project of Longevity Design House with details here.
Scope of Services
persons with disabilities
- How to adapt Hong Kong homes for ageing in place - a designer explains (Post Magazine, SCMP, 27/7/2017)
- Social enterprise Longevity Design House getting the measure of the needs of Hong Kong's older generation (SCMP, 17/7/2015)