Hong Kong Christian Service

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Issue 005
2015 Jan

Active participation in communities
Elders voice themselves through photos

In 2005 World Health Organisation (WHO) published "Global age-friendly cities: a guide" laid an important foundation for places in the world to build an age-friendly community. Hong Kong being one of the places well known for longevity should have social policies, service development, and infrastructure in place to meet the needs of the aged. We believe that through the perspective of elders as the first person, to participate in, or even play a part in policy formulation process, can enhance their sense of belongings, and build a society more suited to their needs.

An age-friendly community from the perspective of elders

In order to enable participation, our Elderly Core Business grouped 70 elders through talks, site visits, small groups to assist them to get to know the idea of age-friendly community concept, then to focus on 4 of the 8 essential age-friendly community features, namely: housing, outdoor space, transportation, social participation, and at the same time made use of ‘photovoice’ where elders use their cameras to capture what they think is an age-friendly city.

We compiled all the observations, thoughts and records from the elders to a photo exhibition on 27-29 October 2014 in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. We chose "transportation" as our priority and intend to meet officials of the Transport Department in March 2015 to channel their concern.

We hope to promote this concept of an age-friendly community through these series of activities to raise the sense of belonging among elders in the community

What is photovoice?
Photovoice has become more and more popular, it uses group analysis method where participants are asked to represent their community or express themselves by taking pictures relevant to the examined community. The process emphasizes more on participants’ involvement and become his agent. This method is more used to allow participants reflect deeply the concerned topic, it is also an empowerment of the marginalised about social policies.
8 characteristics of age-friendly cities:
Outdoor spaces and buildings, Transportation, Housing, Social participation, Respect and social inclusion, Civic participation and employment, Communication and information, Community and health service (from Service Development plan of Age-Friendly Community of “Hong Kong Plan of Action on Ageing” promotional manual, Hong Kong Council of Social Service, May 2009).

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