Special arrangement for first year of Fujian Scheme to expire on 31 March
Eligible elderly persons who wish to apply for the Fujian (FJ) Scheme under the special one-off arrangement for the first year are advised to submit their applications as early as possible because the arrangement will expire on 31 March 2019.
Under the special one-off arrangement, elderly persons who do not meet the requirement of residing in Hong Kong continuously for one year immediately before the date of application (the one-year of continuous residence in Hong Kong requirement), but have already resided in FJ and satisfied all other eligibility criteria, can benefit from the Scheme without the need to return and stay in Hong Kong.
For more information about the current FJ Scheme, please visit the FJ Scheme website of the Social Welfare Department.
Points to note when choosing home care service agencies

In recent years, home care service agencies have become an alternative to homes for the elderly in providing required services in the comfort of home. The Consumer Council conducted a survey on 12 agencies offering home medical and personal care services. The results revealed a great difference among the types of services they provide, their scope of services, areas covered and service charges. The Council reminded consumers choosing such services to pay attention to the following:
  • When employing professionals such as nurses or physiotherapists, make sure the personnel sent by the agencies have the relevant professional qualifications;
  • Check when the required services are available. For example, some agencies do not provide services on Saturday or Sunday;
  • Read the terms of service regarding inclement weather. For example, some agencies offer business as usual with a surcharge;
  • Take note of the waiting time of the required services. Make the appointment for service well in advance whenever possible.
First public transport fare subsidy collection starts on 16 February 2019

The non-means-tested Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme has been implemented with effect from 1 January 2019. Commuters with monthly public transport expenses exceeding $400 can claim their first subsidy with their Octopus cards starting from 16 February. The subsidy is valid for collection till mid-May, and it can be claimed in the following locations:
- all MTR stations and Light Rail Customer Service Centres;
- all shops of 7-Eleven, Circle-K and Wellcome;
- designated public transport interchanges and ferry piers;
Eligible commuters can also install the Octopus app to get the monthly rebates. NFC Android users can tap their Octopus cards directly to get the subsidy. For iOS users or Android users without NFC, they can input their Octopus card numbers into the app and go to one of the 50 Octopus Service Points to tap their cards for collecting the subsidy.

The subsidy amount is capped at HK$300 per month. If you are not sure whether you are eligible for claiming the subsidy, you can check your public transport expense online in advance.
  Genotoxic carcinogens found in cookies and sweet pastries
The Consumer Council tested 58 models of cookies and sweet pastries. The results showed that all of them were high in sugar or fat contents. Furthermore, 51 models were found to contain carcinogens. Of the 46 models with nutrition labels, 29 models were found to exceed the stipulated tolerance limit in the variation in nutrient contents.
The Consumer Council urged food producers to improve their recipes in order to minimize contaminants in their products. They should also give consumers more healthy choices by introducing low sugar, low fat, high fibre ingredients.
For details, please refer to the press release published by the Consumer Council.
Government will raise social security payments by 2.8% in February

Starting from 1st February 2019, the standard payment rates under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme and the rates of Old Age Allowance (OAA) (including those payable under the Guangdong Scheme and the Fujian Scheme), Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) and Disability Allowance (DA) under the Social Security Allowance (SSA) Scheme will be increased by 2.8% (Details). The maximum rent allowance under the CSSA Scheme will also be adjusted upwards by 2.7% (Details).

On the same date, the eligible age for elderly CSSA will be adjusted from 60 to 65. Persons aged between 60 and 64 who have received elderly CSSA before 1st February 2019, and persons with disabilities or in ill health will not be affected. They will continue to receive CSSA payments.
Receiving influenza vaccination

As Hong Kong is entering the winter influenza season, you are advised to receive the influenza vaccination as soon as possible in order to better protect your health. Starting from 2019, Hong Kong residents aged between 50 and 64 are also eligible for receiving subsidized influenza vaccination. The subsidy for seasonal influenza vaccination from private doctors enrolled in the Vaccination Subsidy Scheme (VSS) 2018/19 is $210 per dose. Eligible elderly aged 65 or above can get subsidy for pneumococcal vaccination. The subsidy for 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is HK$250 per dose while the subsidy for 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is $730 per dose (Details).
Japan launches a new departure tax of 1,000 yen
Starting from 7th January 2019, the Japanese government will charge 1,000 yen to people leaving the country by air or sea. The tax has to be paid when travellers buy their tickets. Transit passengers who leave Japan within 24 hours and infants younger than two years old will be exempted from the taxation.
Convenient arrangements for seniors to change new Smart ID

The Hong Kong SAR Government has announced on 18 October that the replacement of new Smart ID will commence on 27 December 2018.  The Immigration Department will provide the following arrangements for seniors to change their Smart ID conveniently.  Nine Smart ID Replacement Centres will also be set up in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories for providing services from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm.
  1. People who apply for new Smart ID during the replacement period designated for their age group can bring along two family members or friends aged 65 or above for changing to new Smart ID.
  2. Seniors who consider that going to the Smart ID Replacement Centres in person will be harmful to their health or that of others may apply in writing to the Commissioner of Registration for exemption.  The letter should be addressed to: ROP General & Statistics Unit, Room 1201, 12/F, Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong.
  3. On-site identity card replacement service will be provided in the second quarter of 2019 for seniors who live in specified residential care homes; this will be expanded to all residential care homes in Hong Kong in phases.
Consumer Council tested calcium contained in Tofu

The Consumer Council announced on 15 October the testing result of nutrition contained in 40 bean curd samples.  The test conducted on 36 packaged hard and soft bean curd and six plate bean curd found a vast variation of nutrient content.  The nutrition label of packaged bean curd even did not tally with the testing result.
While protein in all the samples complied with the requirements of the CODEX Alimentarius Commission, the protein levels ranged from the highest of 9.4g/100g to the lowest of 3.6g/100g.  According to the Taiwan’s Standard for Packaged Soybean Curd (CNS12729), the protein level in hard bean curd should be above 8% and soft bean curd above 4.3%.  Only two of the eight packaged hard bean curd and four of the 26 soft bean curd met this standard.  The average protein content was 5.5%.  Vegetarians who take bean curd as their main source of protein should consider the amount of bean curd required everyday for enough protein intake.
The calcium content also varied significantly in packaged bean curd and ranged from 16g to 420g in 100g bean curd.  The average calcium content in plate bean curd was 122g/100g and was double that of the calcium content of packaged bean curd.

Eldertreks Hong Kong inviting seniors as tour guides

ElderTrek is a community guided tour platform founded by 4 undergraduates.  They were the winner of the Social Innovation CEO Competition held by the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund and in 2016, and won a reward of one hundred and seventy thousand dollars.   They used the reward as a startup fund and founded ElderTrek in 2017 to organize localized cultural guided tour for local people and tourists while providing job opportunities for seniors.
ElderTrek’s tours are led by a senior and assisted by a youngster.  During the one-hour tour, they will introduce the history and their own stories in places like Tze Wan Shan, Mong Kok, Jordan and Yau Ma Tei.  The younger generation can understand more about both Hong Kong and the older generation through the tours.  ElderTrek is now inviting seniors to be tour guides.  People who are interested can contact them through their website. 
Young olds encouraged to go back to career
(Chinese version only)

The Government has made changes continuously to the following policies to encourage healthy seniors aged 50 to 64 and young old aged 65 to 74 to go back to work.
  1. Extended the upper age limit of Category B security work from 65 to 70.
  2. Extended the retirement age of civilian staff and disciplined services staff, appointed on or after 1 June 2015, to 65 and 60 respectively.
  3. Provide $4000 on-the-job monthly training allowance, for a period of 6 to 12 months, to employers engaging senior unemployed job seekers or those aged 60 or above who have left employment.
Plain breakfast no good to senior’s health

The Hong Kong Health Care Alliance and The Hong Kong Association of Gerontology interviewed 268 seniors last December about their attitude towards breakfast.  Only 16% of them would consider the nutrition of breakfast, and 70% thought white bread and plain porridge were healthy diet.  Some preferred to take less protein for breakfast on account of slow metabolism, while those who were under diet control for chronic diseases preferred plain food for breakfast.  Dr Leung Man Fuk, Geriatric Medicine and Director of the Hong Kong Association of Gerontology, said that one’s physique gets smaller when one grows old, and the symptoms of malnutrition may not be obvious.  He suggests that seniors should check their BMI index regularly.  The standard should be around 18.5 to 23, and there may be problems if it drops 5% in 3 to 6 months.  Joanne Chan, registered dietitian, said seniors should take in more protein as their muscle loss is faster than young people.  Learn more from our website at “Dining”- Healthy Eating.

Elderly Health Centres of Department of Health provide health assessment service

The Department of Health has set up 18 Elderly Health Centres in Hong Kong to meet senior citizens’ multiple health needs by providing integrated primary health care services.  It includes preventive, promotive and curative care.  Seniors aged 65 or above can register as a member for free with their address identity document and personal information in the centre of their region.  The charge for health assessment is only $110, and the charges for other services are also very favourable.  Details about the health assessment and other services are available in the “FAQ” in the Elderly Health Service website.

Finding Missing Elderly with Dementia Mobile App developed by Jockey Club Centre for Positive Ageing help searching for lost dementia relative

The Finding Missing Elderly with Dementia Mobile Apps is developed by the Jockey Club Centre for Positive Ageing.  It is specially designed for looking for missing elderly with dementia.  The Centre was founded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club in June 2008 and is operated by The Chinese University of Hong Kong.  It provides one-stop integrative training services for patients with dementia to delay their decline so as to maintain a normal social life.  The Centre also offers supportive services to relieve the pressure of carers.
The Finding Missing Elderly with Dementia Mobile Apps is one of their services.  Family members can register the dementia patient’s information and his/her photo in the apps beforehand.  They can then report the loss of the dementia elderly through the apps in the future.  Members of the public can also download the apps and register as “Dementia Angel” to help find the missing elderly.  The downloading is free!

Know more about Chinese and Western medical treatments through “Integrative Medicine Clinical Evidence Portal”

The Integrative Medicine Clinical Evidence Portal is a Chinese and Western Medical treatment website created by The Chinese University of Hong Kong.  It collects the clinical peer randomized trials reviews and systematic reviews about common treatments in the market such as the effectiveness of Echinacea in treating common flu, the effect of acupuncture on cancer treatment, and whether Taichi exercise can improve senior’s sleeping quality?  Readers can understand more about Western, Chinese or other treatments in curing diseases from the science perspective.  This website also contains online training materials on evidence-based healthcare principles and clinical research methodology.  The consultation team is formed by medical professionals including Prof Lin Zhixiu, Director of Hong Kong Institute of Integrative Medicine; Prof. Justin CY Wu, Associate Dean (Development) of Faculty of Medicine; Prof. Leung Ting Hung, Director of School of Chinese Medicine.  Readers can search for  information through the two categories of “Intervention” or “Physical condition” under “Synopsis Database” according to their personal conditions. 


Consumer Council found dioxane in over 60% of 60 shampoo models

The Consumer Council conducted tests on 60 shampoo models including 39 for general consumers, 3 for women and 7 for men, and 11 for those who have hair loss problems.  Over 60% of the models, i.e. 38 shampoos, contain 1,4-dioxane; and 20% contain allergy-causing preservatives.  In the shampoo containing dioxane, one is for users with thinning hair or hair loss problem.  While the shampoo with 1,4-dioxane do not pose safety risks to users, it may cause tautness and dryness for some people if not rinsed thoroughly.


Source of Photo: Apple Daily 
Smart Living Experience Tour in Science Park

Smart Living@Science Park has been established in the Hong Kong Science Part in Sha Tin.  It is a 500-feet show flat with living room, bedroom, kitchen and toilet.  Visitors can try the thoughtful products designed by local designers and technology companies including the Sit and Shower chair,  360 degree rotating electric wheelchair,  pressure measuring watch,  ring for pre-screening of potential obstructive sleep apnea, etc.  Applications for guided tours from individuals and groups are welcome.


Source of the photo: Wen Wei Po
Get tickets by swiping Home-visit permits at 215 Express Rail stations in China

Holders of home-visit permits may now get their online railway tickets or buy tickets at designated self-help ticketing machines at 215 Express Rail Link stations in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong, Hunan and Guangdong, etc.


Call and Care Service connects to Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital

The Senior Citizen Home Safety Association has signed a partnership with the University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital for medical services to be provided to Call and Care Service users living or travelling in Shenzhen.  The patient’s medical information will also be sent to the Hospital to facilitate timely response with immediate notification to the emergency contact of elderly users.  The first phase of this service will be launched in July 2017.  Elderly users who need medical help can press the “Safety Button” on their e-Care Link remote to connect to the Association’s 24-hours Call and Care Centre in Hong Kong through roaming services provided by the mobile network service operators.

The fourth CancerLink Support Centre Open for Service

CancerLink is one of the supportive services of Cancer Fund.  The fourth centre is now open in Wong Tai Sin to help  cancer patients.  Cancer patients, recovered patients, and their families and friends are welcome to learn more about coping with cancer.

Beware of Phone Scam

Beware and don’t believe in phone messages from people claiming to be from the Immigration Department, transferring calls to law enforcement agencies outside Hong Kong, and requesting information such as bank account numbers and passwords.