Tuesday 5 December 2017

Trained professionals needed to care for young and old, not more maids | December 5

Peter Kammerer says Hong Kong needs more clinics, health and social workers trained in geriatrics to cope with the rise in the elderly cohort.   ("Trained professionals needed to care for young and old, not more maids", December 5).  In this he is surely correct. But just as surely he is incorrect to say that boosting number of helpers is "laughable".
The fastest growing sector in Hong Kong is the over 80s; I will soon be in that cohort myself.  Some of these folks may need specialised geriatric care in clinics. But many are mobile and fit for age.  Many would welcome a helper-cum-companion, to assist with mobility, cooking and other household chores. My mother is 96 and still healthy and mobile. She lives in Australia and managers on her own, with family help. She would certainly welcome the help of a helper; but sadly Australia does not allow the special domestic helper visas as does Hong Kong.
As one of the 1.16 million over-65s please let us keep the mixed system we have in Hong Kong.  By all means more clinics and trained social workers.  And by all means more helpers. Those who claim, as Kammerer has done, that our domestic helper system is  "slave labour" are clearly caught up in hysterical hyperbole.  There is no compulsion to work here.  And of course we must ensure that any mistreatment of domestic helpers is strictly punished by the law.

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