Hong Kong’s population is ageing rapidly. Statistics show that by 2040, approximately 30% of local population will be aged 65 or over. Yet, the future ageing population will be better educated and wealthier. In 2016, 25% of local population aged 60 or above had received senior secondary or tertiary education but the corresponding figures for those aged 50-59 and 40-49 were 51% and 67%. The latter two groups of future elderly are expected to seek a more self-reliant and quality living after retirement.
Gerontechnology, combining gerontology with technology, is widely recognised as a key to addressing the challenges and tapping the opportunities arising from the ageing population. It is an inter- and multi-disciplinary sector which focuses on the application of technology towards elderly-related products and services to enhance the well-being, quality of life, independence and self-reliance of the elderly, and provide support to the families, caregivers, healthcare staff and institutions. These products and services may very often be applied to rehabilitation and cater for the needs of people with disabilities.
In view of the challenges and opportunities arising from the ageing population, the SIE Fund has decided to engage one intermediary to design, develop and operate an inclusive platform so as to facilitate the development of the gerontechnology ecosystem in Hong Kong. The platform should serve to link up different stakeholders on the supply side and connect them with the demand side by way of engagement, cross-sector partnerships and collaborations.
Since 2017, different organisations have embarked on their gerontechnology initiatives with a view to addressing the ageing issue and facilitating the development and application of gerontechnology in Hong Kong. The objective of SIE Fund’s platform is not to replace, duplicate or crowd out the valuable work being taken forward by these organisations. Instead, the platform should facilitate knowledge and experience sharing as well as collaborations across these initiatives or platforms with the aim of gathering the efforts of all stakeholders to address the ageing issue in a holistic manner, avoiding duplication of efforts, building capacity, further synergising, and collectively achieving efficiency and effectiveness in the gerontechnology sector as well as bigger social impact for Hong Kong.
The gerontechnology platform will comprise four basic elements, namely:
- knowledge hub;
- network and capacity building;
- consultancy, localisation and testing support; and
- impact assessment.