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Pioneering Gerontech Advancements in Hong Kong

Image Credits: PolyU, Press Release
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The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) showcased the technological achievements, via a sharing day, of the Jockey Club Smart Ageing Hub Project within the gerontechnology field. Collaboration among experts from various disciplines was facilitated to share their technological advancements and best practices, and discuss the future of Hong Kong’s gerontech landscape.

At the welcoming ceremony, key figures included the Secretary for Labour and Welfare of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Head of Charities (Positive Ageing & Elderly Care) of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, and the PolyU Executive Vice President, who officiated the event, which drew over 300 attendees representing various aspects of the gerontech field, including elderly care industry professionals, academics, and businesses.

Image Credits: PolyU, Press Release

The Jockey Club Smart Ageing Hub Project, initiated in December 2017 as an HKSAR Chief Executive’s Community Project, received a substantial donation of over HK$47 million from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. It is currently overseen by the PolyU Department of Biomedical Engineering, and its primary mission is to address the challenges posed by Hong Kong’s aging population through the establishment of a multidisciplinary network. This network is dedicated to advancing innovative gerontech solutions for elderly care and, in turn, improving the quality of life for the elderly.

In her opening remarks, PolyU’s Executive Vice President stated that given Hong Kong’s ageing population, the Jockey Club Smart Ageing Hub strives to foster a smart and age-friendly community. For this purpose, a Day Experience Centre is set up on the PolyU campus to provide information on gerontech for the elderly and caregivers.

Additionally, six elderly care and rehabilitation service units have joined as strategic partners to develop Real-life Hostels equipped with gerontech to enhance the quality of life for service users, including the elderly and those with disabilities. The ultimate goal is to optimise the continuum of care by applying technology effectively.

In his welcome address, the Head of Charities (Positive Ageing & Elderly Care) of The Hong Kong Jockey Club commended the remarkable achievements of the Jockey Club Smart Ageing Hub Project and highlighted the need to enhance the application of gerontech tools in the coming years. Collaboration between the Club and PolyU will focus on improving services in residential care homes for the elderly through technology.

One of the primary objectives of the Project is to strengthen the application of gerontech tools tailored to the specific needs of elderly individuals and service units for disabled individuals. This involves on-site visits to the Real-life Hostels by representatives from the elderly care industry, with the aim of encouraging the industry to harness technology for service quality improvement.

Various innovative PolyU technology solutions, such as the eNightLog bed-leaving monitoring system, the smart toilet sensing system, and a detachable laser indicator for gait training, have already benefited 3,500 elderly and disabled individuals while reducing the burden on healthcare workers. The practical experience gained from implementing gerontech solutions in Real-life Hostels provides valuable insights for the industry.

The Project team has established a Day Experience Centre on the PolyU campus that showcases over 2,000 gerontech tools from around the world, providing a categorised resource library. They have also organised over 1,200 activities for public education on gerontech, including guided tours, workshops, and exhibitions.

This initiative aims to enhance public awareness of gerontech in Hong Kong and promote its use for personal health management. Collaborative efforts with District Health Centres (DHC) have led to the creation of “Gerontech Corners” and thematic exhibitions featuring over 500 gerontech and assistive devices.

The Project team has also partnered with various organisations to promote technology in preventing chronic diseases, including a trial program involving around 60 elderly care units to test the Smart Companion Robot developed by PolyU. Collectively, these activities have benefitted over 40,000 individuals in Hong Kong and have significantly advanced the application of gerontech in the community.

The Project team’s contributions to the promotion and development of gerontech have earned widespread recognition and support from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. Over the next three years, the Project team will continue to provide gerontech support to the community and collaborate with self-financing residential care homes for the elderly. This partnership aims to make these care homes more intelligent and further advance the elderly care industry in embracing gerontech to address the challenges posed by an aging population.

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