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A Study on Leisure Facilities, Service and Activities Are Suitable and Enough for Elderly in Hong Kong?

A Study on leisure facilities, service and activities are suitable and enough for elderly in Hong Kong? Introduction A small-scale city of China, Hong Kong, there is estimated 7,008,900 people by the end of Year 2008. And more than 13% of it will be the elderly. In view of the older population growing up at full pelt in Hong Kong, and for quickly promoting educational and economic capability, the demands of elderly leisure facilities and services increase every year.

Nowadays the leisure topic for the elderly has been discussed mostly in sociology, and discovering that as age gets older the participated scope of leisure activities gets smaller, and being limited to gossip or some kinds of static leisure activities. The Hong Kong Government has replied that already provided lots of subsidy and leisure facilities among districts for the elderly, yet the life satisfactory of the elderly still lower than those live in foreign countries.

In order to understand the provision of facilities, services and activities whether suitable and enough to meet the elderly needs and wants or not, and get some guidelines for the Government in providing and allocating the facilities and services, we occurred this study. There are four purposes in this study: 1) To understand the Hong Kong elderly demographic situation 2) To analyze the existing needs and demands of the leisure facilities, services and activities of the elderly. 3) To analyze if the existing facilities, services and activities enough and suitable for elderly or not. ) To find out the elderly changing behavior and the coming trends of the elderly facilities, services and activities. Demographic of the elderly in Hong Kong According to the 2006 Population Census, the population of older persons increased at an average annual growth rate of 5. 5% over the past 40 years. There were 850 280 older persons in Hong Kong in 2006(fig. 1) occupying more than 12% of the total Hong Kong population. This implying that there are huge potential need of elderly facilities services and activities in the coming years.

With reference to the report, there were slightly more female older persons than male older persons, mainly because of higher life expectancy for female. However the older men have higher average levels of education than older women. This may be attributed to the past education tradition in Chinese society of placing less importance for females to receive education. “The common leisure-time physical activities between 1985 and 1995 included jogging, cycling, swimming walking, gardening, tai chi chuan, and qigong” ( American Journal of Public Health 2001, Vol. 1 P. 1371-1376) Due to the education levels were increasing of the older persons, the future older persons’ need and want will be more different from those older persons in the past and even today. They will be more educated and the leisure program, services and facilities demand may be very various. The proportion of older persons belonging to the labour force declined steadily from 1991 to 2001. To some extent, this is attributed to the change in the general economic conditions that more and more older persons left the labour force at their sixties.

The median monthly income from main employment of the working older persons in 2001 was $6,000, about 60% of the median ($10,000) of the whole working population (fig. 2). This showing that older persons still have 10 to 20 years to live after their retirement. In their age of retired, they still physically health enough to participate in different leisure activities. The most important point comes to that they have sufficient purchasing power. They are available to spend money on their interested scope.

There was a substantial redistribution of older persons during the last ten years. The proportion of older persons residing in the New Territories increased. For Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, the numbers of older persons residing in these areas increased but the proportions declined from 24. 0% and 43. 2% ten years ago to 21. 3% and 39. 3% respectively in 2001. Nevertheless, the proportion of older persons to whole population residing in the New Territories was lower than the corresponding proportions of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon (fig. 3).

As the proportion of the older persons throughout Hong Kong are increasing, the Government need to consider that if the elderly facilities and services in each district enough to fulfill all the older persons. Elderly Existing Needs As population of the elderly in Hong Kong is growing, there are more demands for leisure facilities. The Leisure Cultural Services Department (LCSD) provides various leisure facilities to the local community and that includes the old-aged people who are interested. Besides, LCSD offers some lessons for especially for the elderly such as swimming and Tai Chi lessons.

However, the government should give more training for elderly on using the leisure facilities in order to facilitate their needs to improve their lifestyle. Given that some of the elderly if not all are educated enough on using such high-tech facilities, they would definitely appreciate it if the government can provide trainings. For example, trainings on how to use the fitness machines and etc. By doing this, the elderly will become more aware of that kind of facilities and if they know how to use it, they would certainly go and use the fitness center during their free time.

It will not only satisfy the old-aged residents but also can improve the LCSD leisure facilities usage. In addition, LCSD should arrange lessons in other sports facility available, like lawn ball or playing golf. These sports do not require much energy while doing it so it is a good sport for elderly. Aside from trainings, LCSD could organize some regular day camps in the recreation sites available to the elderly where it includes some fun games and leisurely activities that can less their worries about outside world.

Since they have so much free time, the elderly will definitely love to do this kind of activity to relax them away from the city and know more friends. Moreover, parks are everywhere in Hong Kong and it is the easiest recreational area the elderly could reach. Therefore, government should provide more recreational facilities like some basic exercise facility for them. To attract more elderly going to the parks, government should install more benches with covered area for them to relax and can have social bonding with their friends. With this, the elderly not only use the exercise facility available but also socialize with other people.

To encourage the elderly in using the facilities, government should implement a reward system for elderly who regularly use it. This would persuade the elderly to go out and try the facilities and not stay at home to watch TV or listen to the radio. As we all know, families of the elderly do not have much time to be with them. Therefore, having these facilities and services would bring happiness to them due to the fact that they are well taken care of and that they are important in the society. Existing Facilities, Services and Activities for Elderly

Leisure and Cultural Service Department of Hong Kong Government provide leisure facilities and other amenities in Hong Kong’s 18 districts comprise 41 beaches, 37 swimming pools, two outdoor stadia, 46 natural turf pitches, 25 artificial turf pitches, 233 hard-surface soccer pitches, two hockey pitches, two rugby pitches, 88 sports centers, 298 squash courts, 24 sports grounds, 272 tennis courts, four golf driving ranges, five water sports centers, four holiday camps, 22 major parks and 671 children’s playgrounds, public library, also, they are providing a program for elderly to learn some skills in there leisure time.

Commercial organizations provide based leisure facilities are the third form of private, commercial leisure provision in Hong Kong. This includes dance halls, karaoke and other nightclubs, teahouses, cafeterias, restaurants and bars, saunas and parlors, bowling alleys, multifunctional centers, and other commercial places that offer nonworking leisure, recreation, and entertainment, also elderly center for elderly.

There facilities are places of social gathering and provide leisure primarily for local residents. Also will included both indoors and outdoors leisure, including tennis courts, golf courses, bowling rinks, shooting ranges, archery ranges, body exercise facilities, skating and skiing, swimming pools, fishing, surfing, scuba diving, and horse racing.

Actually, there are many leisure facilities and service in Hong Kong, it seem that it is more concentrate in young people but not elderly, and many of the leisure facilities are not suitable for elderly, but according to the study, what elderly can do in their leisure time is not much, which included watching TV, Reading newspapers or magazines, Eating out, Shopping, Listen to radio, Reading books, Going to a tea house, Walking in the park, Surfing the web, Going to the public library, Going to the cinema, Having a picnic, Playground games, Swimming, Jogging, Hiking, Walking, Table tennis, Weight training, Exercise, Martial arts, Squash and Dancing. As I mention before, Hong Kong Government and Commercial organizations are provided many venues included those leisure facilities which are suitable for elderly, for example, the sport centre, elderly can play some light sport at the sport centre, it is not only for spend their leisure time, and can improve their heath. Also, those sport centers are located at different districts, so that elderly can enjoy them easily. Moreover, there are many children playgrounds around different living place, actually children playground are not only for children, but also elderly can do some exercise or even chat with their friends there.

Then, government and some of the commercial club houses will also provide programs for elderly to learn some skills in there leisure time. Sometime elderly might feel boring because they always stay at home, but, nowadays, people are very busy in the works, they might no have time to bring there elderly out for trips, some of the organizations organize different day trips for elderly. Actually, leisure facilities for elderly can be found in any places, nowadays many buildings will have there own club houses, elderly can go to those club houses easily, also, there are many elderly centers providing elderly service around their living area. But, in the places that away from urban area like Yuen Long, the leisure facilities are less then urban area.

Elderly can enjoy those kinds of leisure activities easily in Hong Kong. Also, government and many organizations provided different kinds of elderly service and programs which including elderly houses, it can help elderly enjoy their leisure time with those service and programs, actually in my point of view, the facilities for elderly are enough for them, but the age of people are increasing nowadays, the number of elderly are increasing too, government should think about should they increase the type and even the number of leisure facilities for the elderly. Elderly Changing Behavior Age has proven to be a valuable predictor of human behaviour and economic demand.

The demographic changes such as the aging trend in individualized countries such as Hong Kong and the dominance of the large baby-boomer generation, now people aged fifty-eight or above have strong and global effects on both leisure and tourism. More active leisure behaviour, more frequent travelling, and the changing needs of the elderly stimulate the development of new products. Hong Kong will become a full-fledged aging society with low birth rate. The main market ideas are changed from the younger generations to new generations (people in their 40s, 50s, and the elderly). The Chinese older adults have more money to spend on themselves. They become generous with money for leisure. There will be an increase in emand for high-quality leisure. In Western motivation literature, most are familiar with Maslow’s (1970) hierarchy of needs. They are physiological, safety, belonging, esteem, and self-actualization (see figure 4). The hierarchy provides a means to identify and assess what motivates the individual to satisfy his or her needs. A major premise of the hierarchy is that an unfulfilled need creates tension within the individual and reduction of this tension is what motivates behaviour. Physical needs represent the lower-order needs, while sociopsychological needs represent the higher-order needs. Lower-order needs must be satisfied before any higher-order needs emerge.

As the Hong Kong people are looking for quality of life, different needs from different individuals are required. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a great model to understand. Because of this theory, the elderly are motivated to look for the better living style. They are not just going to spend the rest of their lives simple like before. They are changing their attitudes and lifestyles to get happier. “Hong Kong People have experienced major changes in their personal values. In 1997, Family, Money, Health and Love were the most important personal values, whereas today, Health has surpassed Family and Money to become the most important value of Hong Kong people, followed by Quality of Living” stated Chan (2007, p. 199) (Fig. ) According to Leisure Development Centre (1998), it added that the trend toward the introduction of shorter working hours and the systematization of the 40-hour working week and the 5-day school week, this increase in free time for activities in helping to form favorable market conditions for the leisure industry. When the total working hours decreased compared to the previous years, Hong Kong people had more leisure hours in numerical terms, but real and disposable household income decreased as well. This was the factor behind a decrease in consumption, including consumption on leisure activities. They may refer something cheaper or healthier.

Hattori (2002) believed that Hong Kong people had to cut back on their consumption because of anxiety about their future. From this socioeconomic background, there was an increase in number of senior citizens who put an emphasis on working as they extend their retired age. They stopped spending much money on leisure, preferring to invest in themselves though buying personal items or spending time obtaining qualifications and licenses. There was also a continuous rise in the number of people who regarded working as more important than leisure. According to the AXA Retirement Scope (2006), Hong Kong retirees are the youngest in the world. The retirees’ average retirement age is 57. Working group’s average preferred age of retirement is 53 years of age.

And the existing retirees surveyed wish they had delayed their retirement until they were 61 years of age. Chan (2007) pointed out that As Hong Kong is a dense population city with small-scale area; the elderly have limited choices of leisure activities and facilities in Hong Kong. Hong Kong retirees are looking for high-quality leisure, so they preferred to immigrate to other countries for the rest of their lives. China and Canada are ones of the most popular destinations for Hong Kong people immigration. It is because that China is the mother-land of Hong Kong people and it is cheaper in cost comparing to other countries in the world. Many Hong Kong people have relatives or families there and there is no language barrier.

There variety of leisure facilities and services provided in low price such as Water Therapy Centers, Natural geographical lands, and Karaoke. The Hong Kong older adults could enjoy both physical and psychological leisure activities such as hiking, spa, ball-games activities, etc. As the world is developing, everything including people’s attitudes, behaviors and needs are changing as well. The elderly are likely to participate more in leisure activities to accomplish their needs. They start to get to learn new technology, and to be part of the society. They care more about their self-esteem and how other people think about them. They try their best to achieve what they desire, even immigrating to other countries for their better living standard.

This makes a big change in leisure industry and the city. Trends of Leisure activities for the elderly The trends are based on different aspects. Demographic such as ages, sexes, education level, etc, existing leisure services and facilities, and the needs of the elderly are the main ones. The needs might influence the trends the most because people choose their leisure according to what they want. According to Aging and Society (2007), it emphasized that once the Hong Kong older adults have satisfied the basic needs such as where to sleep, warmth, food, etc. , then they move up a level to safety needs. They might look for leisure services from the government or private organizations uch as Support Team for the Elderly, Multi-Service Centre for the Elderly, Social Centre for the Elderly, Day Care Centre for the Elderly, Home Help and Home Care Service, Self-care Hostel for the Elderly, Home for the Aged, Care-and-attention Home, Nursing Home, Infirmary Placement Service, Emergency Placement Service, Respite Placement Service. Often this is thought of as security from danger but it is more complex than that. Instead it covers them feeling safe. So it also includes things like having a home and security. Laws to protect themselves and their properties, and stability are what the elderly need as well. They will satisfy if the Government set laws that are for them and protect them. The older adult are now more willing to get involved more in different kinds of activities and learn more about the laws to request for more advantages.

If the first two levels have been met then it is likely that they will be working on their social needs. This is the third level in the hierarchy of needs. Social needs are what keeps them connected with others. If they can meet these needs then they are on your way to happiness. These needs include friendship, family and all the social groups they belong to. Most of the elderly choose their leisure activities exactly the same as their friends or the society. They are likely to work in group to accomplish their needs together. Family-oriented activities, group tour, and others become more popular among the elderly. It is this interaction with others that helps them to move forward with their life.

By now if the elderly are moving up the hierarchy of needs those old adults are on their ways to feeling pretty happy and contented. The next level in the pyramid is esteem needs. This need is harder to fulfill than the other needs. They feel that they can control the other needs. They can get food, get a protection and find ways to make friends. This need however requires them to gain self esteem. Self esteem is harder since it relies on what they think that other people think. The elderly care more about their status in their families or in the society. They will attend activities like golfing, wine and cigar classes, etc. that show other people that they are higher class. They need to build it through achievement and other ways that will boost their self esteem.

Having a solid social foundation will help a lot with this need. Once the senior citizens have achieved self esteem they are ready to move onto the next level of the pyramid; self actualization. To achieve this they need to live up to their full potential. They need to be living a satisfied and happy fulfilled life. The elderly are satisfied with what they have then they are willing to help others. They think that they are capable to do so. They are experts in particular things that they learn by themselves. No one can help them to achieve this. This is a hard level to achieve and the general consensus is that very few people are able to achieve it.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a great model to understand. Because of this theory, the elderly are motivated to look for the better living style. They are not just going to spend the rest of their lives simple like before. They are changing their attitudes and lifestyles to get happier. Recommendations Even there are variety of leisure services and facilities in Hong Kong. But not all of them are suitable for the elderly and they might not be large enough to accommodate big groups of the older adult at the same time due to the limited space. Also the Hong Kong SAR Government sets many laws that are for the elderly, help them, and protect them, the information is not known by all the senior citizen.

It is suggested that the Hong Kong SAR Government and private organizations, both profit-making and non profit making organizations, should work together to provide services and facilities to the elderly as they are the new target market of Hong Kong Tourism and Leisure industry. The Government should fully support the LCSD and other organizations such as Hong Kong Jockey Club to promote the leisure activities to the elderly. The supports could be the capitals, land uses, and other possible materials that related to them. At the same time, private organizations, centre for the elderly, Sport and Recreation, clubhouses as examples, also need to promote and offer leisure to the elderly as well. They might lower the price for the elderly to enjoy the facilities in their organizations.

All of them could provide some courses that suitable for the senior citizen because many leisure activities and facilities in Hong Kong are not fully for them, for examples, the selling point of fitness centres attract the teenagers and the middle age people, Tour packages are mainly for the youngsters to participate, and the theme of the 2 main theme parks is to attract children and teenagers to have education and excitement, but all of them are not for the elderly. Special Interest Tours might be provided for the senior citizen, but there are not enough. Centres for the elderly have some requirements that they cannot reach including the price of membership. Few parks in different districts have facilities for the elderly to exercise. With the internet or e-booking leisure facilities, the older adult has more difficulty to book the facilities they would like to enjoy.

Not only those, the information passed to the elderly are not enough as well. Many of Hong Kong senior citizens might only know that there are some leisure facilities near their houses such as gardens, Chinese-chess tables, football pitches, basketball courts, etc. But they do not know that there are more leisure activities provided for them outside their world. They might not know what exact the can do to accomplish their goals and needs. All the organizations in Hong Kong should promote more leisure services, activities, and facilities through advertising, leaflets, posters in markets or estates, etc. Hong Kong is a small country. There might not be enough space for all the elderly and others at the same time.

The Government can corporate with other neighbor countries like China or Macau to offer the best opportunity for the elderly. They might not prefer to enjoy their leisure time in Hong Kong that decreases the improvement of leisure activities in Hong Kong. But the most important factor that every country over the world are providing leisure services and facilities to the elderly is to maintain their healthy and quality lifestyles. No matter where they enjoy their leisure time, they are healthy, that is enough. Conclusion As we point out, although there are many leisure facilities and services provided by both public and private sector, most of them are not suitable for elderly. Since the public and private sector’s target are the youngster and adults.

But since the aging population is growing, it is time to take action and start aiming for the old-aged people’s attention. Though, there are quite a number of facilities and services offered to the Hong Kong elderly but most of them do not get access due to the fact that they don’t know those services are available to them. Promotions are needed in order to attract those interested elderly who wants to get involve in such activities. Those facilities and services would be worth building when the local community especially the elderly uses it. Appendix [pic] Fig. 1 [pic] [pic] Fig. 2 [pic] Fig. 3 [pic] Source: Aging and Societies (2004) Fig. 4 [pic]

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