The Hong Kong Observatory and the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association at a press conference today (November 19) introduced their collaboration in caring the senior citizens and to jointly inaugurate the beta version of the Observatory's new "Weather Information for Senior Citizens" web page.
The Hong Kong Observatory has partnered with the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association to study the effects of weather on the health of senior citizens. An analysis was carried out to find out the relationship between air temperature and the number of users pressing the Personal Emergency Link Service (PE-Link) and those requiring subsequent hospitalisation. Initial results showed that when the minimum temperature was below 23 degrees Celsius, the number of users pressing the PE-Link and the number of users subsequently hospitalised both increase with falling temperatures. The corresponding figures for cold days (temperatures below 12 degrees) are higher than those of normal days by more than 10%. On average, about 80 people a day require hospitalisation after pressing the PE-Link.
The Observatory and the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association are co-operating to launch a series of services to promote the awareness of senior citizens in preparing for the cold weather.
Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Mr Lam Chiu-ying, will in his recorded message remind more than 50,000 PE-Link users to prepare for the impending wintry weather through the "Caring Message Service" (note).
The Hong Kong Observatory also launched the beta version of the 'Weather Information for Senior Citizens' webpage. The webpage contains the latest weather forecasts, including forecasts for minimum and maximum temperatures, and the cold and very hot warning messages, as issued. The webpage also provides hyper links to the websites of the Social Welfare Department, Department of Health and other subsidised organisations such as the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association to facilitate the senior citizens, their family members as well as social workers to obtain other related information and to contact the relevant organisations.
Uncle Wong, 78 and asthmatic, puts on a scarf every day in winter. He pressed the PE-Link for help in a cold surge last January and was immediately taken to hospital for treatment. "I felt dizzy and had difficulty breathing when it became cold that day. I was fortunate that the PE-Link and the lady on duty saved my life," he said.
Executive Director of the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association, Mr Ma Kam-wah, pointed out, "The results of the study are highly relevant to us in providing timely caring services to senior citizens. Through this collaboration, we want to bring home the message to the public that when there is a change in the weather, we make a point of caring for the senior citizens."
Assistant Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, Dr Wong Ming-chung, said the collaboration between the Observatory and the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association helped the Observatory to understand more about the impact of weather on senior citizens, and fostered further collaboration for timely provision of essential weather information to senior citizens so that they could get ready for extreme weather conditions.
"The Hong Kong Observatory and the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association will continue to co-operate in matters related to weather information service, research and education for the safety of senior citizens," Dr Wong said.
People are welcome to visit the webpage of Senior Citizen Home Safety Association: http://www.schsa.org.hk/index_eng.html or Weather Information for Senior Citizens Webpage of the Hong Kong Observatory: http://www.weather.gov.hk/sports/socare.shtml for details about the services.
"Caring Message Service" of the Senior Citizen Home Safety Association is provided through an interactive voice response system (IVRS) with autodial function. It aims to deliver greetings, reminders and the latest information to the "Personal Emergency Link Service" users on a regular basis, to help them keep in touch with the community.
The launch of the beta version of the new "Weather Information for Senior Citizens" webpage
Relationship between number of PE-Link cases and Temperature
Relationship between number of PE-Link cases that require hospitalisation and Temperature