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Adding Life to Retirement Years by The Hon. Tam Yiu Chung Chairman, Elderly Commission 15 February 2003.

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Presentation on theme: "Adding Life to Retirement Years by The Hon. Tam Yiu Chung Chairman, Elderly Commission 15 February 2003."— Presentation transcript:

1 Adding Life to Retirement Years by The Hon. Tam Yiu Chung Chairman, Elderly Commission 15 February 2003

2 Topics: Background and Introduction Contribution of Older Persons to Society Retirement Age Senior Volunteerism Preparation for Retirement Intergenerational Relationship and Continuing Education Way Forward

3 10.2% 11.2% 11.9% 12.2% 14.4% 17.2% 21%24.3% Source: Census and Statistics Department


5 Population Ageing is first and foremost a success story for public health policies as well as social and economic development… Gro Harlem Brundtland, WHO Director General

6 Elderly Commission: Symposium on “Challenges and Opportunities of an Ageing Population” 8 June 2002 first of its kind in Hong Kong, a multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach to discuss the implications of population ageing

7 Elderly Commission: Symposium on “Challenges and Opportunities of an Ageing Population” 8 June 2002 policy framework for an ageing society economic and business perspectives of population ageing public perception of ageing changing workforce and concept of retirement built environment changing healthcare focus

8 Contribution of older persons to society

9 Elderly Dependency Ratio the number of persons aged 65 and over per 1,000 persons aged between 15 and 64 people in the age group of 15 to 64 years old support persons aged 65 or over assumption: as population ages, fewer workers to support more older persons

10 But the question is: are societal wealth and productivity only generated by persons in the age group of 15 to 64?

11 The fact is, older persons are going to be: more healthy better educated and will aspire to play a different role in society

12 ……not so long ago, “a report of the League of Nations, in anticipation of post World War II labour requirements, described population aging as a major problem for industrial economies where maximum productivity was thought to be reached by ‘men under 35’…

13 Research shows: older workers are usually willing and enthusiastic about learning new skills older workers can learn, although training techniques may need to beadapted lower absenteeism and staff turnover among older workers

14 Research shows: initial cognitive functioning of most individuals is higher than that needed for most ordinary tasks older persons are still fit to work at 75 years of age with their IQ and EQ intact while some older workers may be less flexible and adaptable, they are more reliable, conscientious, and loyal

15 Employment of older people can be a very positive socio-economic factor. Older workers: continue to pay taxes contribute to retirement fund schemes generate wealth for themselves and society Being employed enhance personal dignity and keep people out of poverty.

16 Retirement Age

17 at the time the average life expectancy was 55 years manual labour was the norm life in retirement was much shorter “Retirement age” came into being in about 1889

18 with people living longer, healthier lives, can we afford to spend less time working and ever more time in retirement? Today Hong Kong’s average life expectancy for men and women are 78.4 and 84.6 years respectively:

19 Retirement Age in USA - being gradually raised to 67 years Japan – 69 years Korea - 67 years

20 Flexible or part-time work arrangements for older persons - would not block the advancement of younger workers, while retaining valuable insight and expertise for the employer likely to become a necessity as the population ages

21 a study has shown that “late retirees” who retired after the age of 65 tended to die within two years after retirement (Sing Lin, Ph.D, Mar 2002 “Optimum Strategies for Creativity and Longevity” ) but other studies also show that people who retire earlier also die earlier

22 important message is that we should all take care of our health, have proper leisure and relaxation throughout life people should be given a choice as to whether or not to retire, or to continue working part- time

23 Change society’s attitude towards retirement and retirement practices - consider how employment practices could be reinvented so that older persons can continue working to the benefit of the employers, themselves and society at large

24 Labour Force Participation Rate

25 Senior Volunteerism Apart from paid employment, older persons can still make positive and productive contribution to society through volunteer work.

26 Senior Volunteerism over 200 000 volunteers, many of them are older persons, in non-governmental sector 12 000 elder volunteers in Social Welfare Department’s Senior Volunteer Programme 1 000 elder health ambassadors in Elderly Commission’s Community Partnership Scheme projects

27 the contribution of volunteer work are estimated at between 8% and 14% of Gross Domestic Product consider ways to recognize the value of voluntary work by older persons in Hong Kong

28 Volunteering as a broader community investment strategy and means of staff development time ‑ off with pay for their staff financial support or assistance in kind company volunteering schemes recognize and support existing staff involvement with voluntary organizations

29 Opportunities for retiree professionals to share their experience and serve the community in sectors that are usually not involved in ageing related issues

30 Preparation for Retirement exit programmes for retiring employees for active and healthy ageing healthy and active retirees lessen demands on public medical and social services generate business opportunities: investment management, travel services, health products, etc.

31 Intergenerational Relationship Continuing Education Reinvest in Ageing

32 Decrease in average household size and Increase in households with persons 65+

33 Intergenerational Gap growing segregation of the older and younger generations in the domestic setting the chasm made greater with the digital gap dwindling interaction between different age groups deterioration in the younger generation’s perception of older people

34 Continuing Education older persons pursue lifelong learning – update themselves and keep up with technological advances in every day living self-enrichment – reconstruct the image of ageing and improve intergenerational connectivity

35 Reinvest in Ageing compartmentalized life course: - education when young - work in adulthood - leisure after retirement

36 Reinvest in Ageing integrated life course- lifelong learning interspersed with periods of work and leisure and self-reflection promotion of lifelong learning among elders- joint process of individuals, families, communities and Government

37 Elderly Commission advocate preventive and life-course approach in health and positive image of ageing in the Healthy Ageing Campaign promote active and healthy ageing according to the World Health Organization Policy Framework on Active Ageing

38 Initiatives to be considered rethinking retirement and human resources practices review volunteering activities for older persons and explore new opportunities

39 Initiatives to be considered demonstration projects in cultural, arts and sports arena to highlight the abilities of active, healthy and creative older persons encourage lifelong learning programmes and promote intersectoral collaboration in the provision of lifelong learning opportunities for older persons

40 The challenge: –to socially evolve in a forward-looking, sustainable manner –add life to years after adding years to life –transition into a satisfying retirement in old age –a win-win situation for older persons and the rest of society

41 Thank you!

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