I went to the Flora Ho Sports Centre to meet up with other volunteers for the HKU volunteer mooncakes project at 9:30am on September 19. International and Chinese Mainland students also took part in the volunteer work. A family of three, two alumni and I formed a group of six people to take gift bags containing fruits, low sugar mooncakes & tea to four families living on Belcher's Road.
I remembered we visited an elderly lady, who lived alone and had multiple chronic conditions, including heart failure, severe osteoporosis, cataracts and cholecystitis. She led us to have a look at her two cans of medicines that she took every day. One of her windows was broken because a naughty child shot at it with his toy gun. Some of the wallpaper was peeled off the ceiling to the point that concrete could be seen. Due to an oedema in her leg, she found it difficult to walk down the narrow stairs.
The last family we visited was a couple who lived in room of approximately 100 square foot with shared kitchen and toilet. Their children were on the Mainland. The 75-year-old gentleman was a casual part-time employee who worked in Chinese medicine shop until two months ago when he had to stop working due to his coronary artery thrombolysis. Despite his heart problem, he continued to eat oily canned food. His wife works as a cleaning lady. Because of redevelopment of the area, they need to move out of their old home in the near future and may lose all their neighbour connections and social support network.
In Hong Kong with a Gini index of 0.533, the average income for the poorest 10% household is HK$3,000. There has been no increase in income in the past five years. The poor elderly people live in substandard small rooms and may work even at the age of seventy five. This journey has broaden my horizons and was a good chance for me to express my concern regarding the elderly in our community.