The Policy Address 2000

Welfare for the Elderly - More and Faster

21.The Elderly Commission has been set up to advise on better comprehensive care for the aged. Government has shortened by one year the average waiting time for the allocation of public rental flats to single elderly persons. This has been made possible by giving priority to elderly applicants in the allocation of flats and building more flats tailored to their needs. Efforts will be made to further reduce the waiting time. Also, in the past three years, an additional 6 400 subsidised residential care places have been provided, reducing waiting time by eight months. Next year, we will increase the allocation by more than $100 million to provide approximately 1 600 more places. The Government has also stepped up its regulation of private care homes for the elderly. The number of licensed private care homes has increased from 14 in 1997 to 450 this year. With a 65% increase in funding in the past three years, the number of beneficiaries of home care services for the elderly has been increased by 10 000. In the coming year, we will spend a further $70 million to enable more frail elderly to receive care at home. We will also promote the Healthy Ageing Campaign.

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