2 June 2018
The world’s population is ageing in a rapid speed. According to World Health Organization (WHO), between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world's older adults is estimated to almost double from about 12% to 22%. In other words, this is an expected increase from 900 million to 2 billion people over the age of 60. Older people face special physical and mental health challenges which need to be recognized.
In Hong Kong alone, there are over 940,000 people aged 65 or over at an average growth of 4.8% while the total population growth is about 1.6% only. According to a report of the Census and Statistics Department 
, the Hong Kong population is projected to increase from 6.8 million in mid-2003 to 8.38 million in mid-2033 with a continuous ageing trend. The proportion of those aged 65 and over is projected to rise markedly from 11.7% in 2003 to 27% in 2033.
As early as year 2002 WHO had published a policy framework for “Active Ageing”. The paper recommends the inclusion of three aspects to encourage the quality life of the elderly: “health”, “involvement” and “protection”. The Hong Kong Government has been promoting various programmes such as "ageing-in-place" recently in order to provide a safe and comfortable home-care environment for elderly. At the same time, there are thousands of patients with home-care or home-rehabilitation needs, such as chronic and post-surgery patients. We have the pleasure to interview Ms. Ada Yu, Chief Physiotherapist and founder of OK Care Limited, and discuss with her what ageing healthy means, and what kinds of therapies and activities that could aid the elderly to age more positively. OK CARE is an on-site healthcare and rehabilitation service to alleviate pressure off the public healthcare system.
A Community Service to give back to the Elderly
As a physiotherapist with over 20 years’ experience, Ada knows her patients well. Ada has given talks and seminars on prevention and rehabilitation at elderly homes, giving interviews on TV, and a regular column for feature articles with Health Plus magazine. Besides running a business, Ada passionately engages herself with elderly work, especially serving the elder in nursing homes with innovative methods and therapy-based exercises to encourage the elder to do.
"It all started with a charitable donation from one of her long-term client who approached the challenge with a good heart." Ada said. "We initiated two programmes which focus on: 1) the elderly’s mind, and 2) the physical health of the elderly."
The first programme introduces the Mandala colouring where art therapy can help them focus and concentrate. "In fact recent research in art therapy (Curry & Kasser
(2005); van der Vennet & Serice
(2012) also suggests that such activities can help to reduce anxiety. Ada explained her team would regularly visit nursing homes, usually once a week, and bring about 8-10 elderly residents to work on the Mandala. This encourages them to use colours and creativity as much as possible." Ada said. "Mandalas with elderly clients was found to be beneficial as an art therapy experience in that it has inherent healing properties in the act of colouring, the effect of colour as well as the focus on the mandala design."
The second programme focuses on the elderly’s physical health, with easy-to-do and physical friendly exercises, the healthcare professionals will bring about 8 elderlies in a group to do these exercises together. “Our physiotherapist assistants make real effort to encourage the elderly to participate and do regular exercises, many times the elderly’s behaviour are like small children, so we need to consider their feelings and try using soft but convincing methods to encourage them to move." said Ada.
When asked how long they will continue with these community programmes, Ada explained they will continue to do so long there are charitable donations coming from donors.
OK CARE serving the greater community in Hong Kong
Apart from Ada’s busy schedule as chief physiotherapist with her own clinic in Central, she has also founded the OK Care company providing health care services to clients with nursing and rehabilitation needs, such as elderly, post-surgery patients, chronic patients with stroke or cancer.
“We understand living in such a busy and hectic city like Hong Kong, it is often difficult for family members to find time to request healthcare service for their love ones. Therefore, we wanted to bring convenience to clients by offering our self-invented apps, where clients can do real-time service request and settle payment, all from his/her mobile without leaving the house or needing to make long phone calls," said Ada.
takes pride in their two-pronged approach. Under the able leadership of Ada, OK Care is providing a stimulating and highly engaging alternative treatment to the ageing mind.
Stretching exercise for you and me
Interviewed by Upper Fusion reporters