Hong Kong is an ageing society. As estimated, 22% of its residents will be at least 60 years old by 2030. The World Health Organization (WHO)’s policy framework on active ageing (2002) and its initiative for the creation of ‘age-friendly’ cities promote the provision of suitable living environments to ensure the successful participation, good health, security, and independence of older adults. These initiatives focus on the interaction of environmental and social factors for the promotion of healthy and active ageing in urban settings.

According to the WHO, an age-friendly community

  • Recognises the great diversity among older adults
  • Promotes older adults’ inclusion (engagement) and contributions in all areas of community life
  • Respects older adults’ decisions and lifestyle choices
  • Anticipates and responds flexibly to ageing-related needs and preferences

In an age-friendly community, policies, programmes, services, and infrastructure related to both the physical and social environments are designed to enable older adults to live safely, enjoy good health, and continue to participate meaningfully in society. Designing a living environment for older adults in which only medical services are provided is no longer sufficient. An age-friendly living environment should adopt an interdisciplinary approach in which various factors, including biological, cognitive, psychological, behavioural, economic, social, and environmental factors, of older individuals are considered for their physical and psychosocial well-being. In brief, the development of an age-friendly living environment should be holistic and cross-disciplinary, and it should incorporate the values, beliefs, interests, expectations, and needs of older individuals.

Current Research

Our core research members’ previous and current research activities are consistent with the six areas recommended by the WHO for developing age-friendly living environments.

  1. Outdoor Space and Buildings
  • Adaptive models and integrated buildings
  • Study of wandering and elopement behaviours of older adults with cognitive impairment
  • Study of older adults living independently in public housing
  1. Transportation
  • Public transport for people with special needs (including older adults)
  1. Inclusive Housing
  • Design guidelines for the living environments of older adults
  • Housing environments (indoor and outdoor) for older adults
  • Fire safety in residential care homes for older people
  • Everyday products and objects for older adults
  • Access guidelines for people with special needs
  • Fall prevention and home safety for community-dwelling older adults
  1. Respect and Social Inclusion
  • Ageing in the community
  • Design of integrated service centres
  • ‘Inclusive design’ research
  • Study on the activity preferences and patterns of individuals with dementia in long-term care settings
  • Intergenerational reminiscence programme for older adults with cognitive impairment
  1. Social Participation (Lifestyle)
  • Community participation in urban living environment design
  • Study of participation of community-dwelling stroke survivors
  • Influence of ageing on the social engagement and lifestyles of older adults
  1. Community Support and Health Services
  • Spatial programme design strategy for recreational space
  • Accessibility and disability
  • Future development of Rehabus services
  • Informational needs of health care professionals in dementia care
  • Care needs assessment of older adults with cognitive impairment

Research Directions

To illustrate the two main directions of the research focus on age-friendly living environments, the IAA’s core research members plan to develop an age-friendly community in a district that has been designated for redevelopment soon and has a high population of older residents. The first direction is to develop the principles and guidelines of inclusive design for public facilities and environments. The second direction is to develop age-friendly products, facilities, and environments incorporating the principles of inclusive design. Research will also be conducted on the everyday life patterns, culture, and well-being of older adults.

  1. Optimising the Human–Environment Interface at Home
  • Design age-friendly home environments and home-living devices for the optimal and safe functioning of older adults
  1. Accessible Transportation Environments
  • Accessible public transportation: environments and facilities for older adults
  1. Inclusive Public Environments and Facilities
  • Flexible design of streetscapes and street furniture to meet the needs and preferences of older people
  • Inclusive design: public environments and facilities for older adults with age-related changes in mobility and cognitive and sensory–perceptual functions
  • Research on the cultural aspects of public community environments

Research Projects

 Research project visualization 2Age-Friendly City Project Phase 2

(2017-2021)

Funded by Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust

Research project visualization 2

Age-Friendly City Project

(2015-2021)

Funded by Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust

Jockey Club Age-friendly City Project

In response to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has partnered with four gerontology research institutes in Hong Kong, including Jockey Club Institute of Ageing of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sau Po Centre on Ageing of The University of Hong Kong, Institute of Active Ageing of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies of Lingnan University to implement the Jockey Club Age-friendly City (JCAFC) project in 18 districts with the aim of building an age-friendly city which can cater for the needs of all ages.

The purposes of JCAFC project are to assess the age-friendliness of each district and build momentum in developing an age-friendly community, recommend a framework for districts to undertake continual improvement for the well-being of senior citizens and arouse public awareness and encourage community participation in building an age-friendly city.

The professional support team of Institute of Active Ageing is responsible for providing comprehensive support for Kwun Tong, Kowloon City, Sham Shui Po and Yau Tsim Mong districts. The scopes of comprehensive support include conducting baseline and final assessment to assess the age-friendliness of the districts, formulating a three-year action plan for districts in consultation with District Councils and other community stakeholders, supporting the districts in joining the The World Health Organisation Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities, recruiting and providing training to AFC ambassadors, implementing professional support team led district-based programmes to enhance the age-friendliness of the district, providing professional support (e.g. programme evaluation) to district-based programmes implemented by NGOs, as well as organising public education programmes to arouse public awareness of age-friendliness.

Jockey Club Age-friendly City Project: https://www.jcafc.hk/en/index.html

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