Association of Retired Elderly Limited (ARE)
Association of Retired Elderly Limited (ARE) was incorporated in March 2014. It is a non-profit making organization and charity exempt from tax pursuant to section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance of Hong Kong. It is also a licensed employment agency.
ARE Wisdom HR Intermediary Social Enterprise Project
In December 2015, ARE launched “ARE Wisdom HR Intermediary Social Enterprise Project” to help retired or semi-retired persons in seeking remunerated jobs and volunteer services opportunities. At the same time, this social enterprise project enables small and medium enterprises, business start-ups, charitable organizations and social enterprises to engage stable, well-educated and experienced retirees at affordable costs, creating a win-win labour market environment.
Message from Chairperson
I am a practising solicitor and have the honour to have served as a volunteer social enterprise adviser and business start-up adviser for many years. Under the positive influence of friends in the circles of social service and social enterprise, I established this Association with the help of some supporters who shared my following thoughts:
Concerns of an ordinary citizen
Being a locally borne and raised Hong Kong citizen, like many others, I concern about the people and things around me, and pay attention to the changes of our society. In recent years, one particular thing has been always in my mind – the ageing problem in Hong Kong.
Population ageing is a global issue, Hong Kong is no exception. We cannot avoid this problem and it is not easy even just trying to slow it down. Facing the problem of a rapidly ageing population in Hong Kong, I worry very much.
What and whom Hong Kong people could rely on after retirement? Can our Government continuously afford the huge expenses on supporting the elderly? Do we need to increase tax substantially? Our population age structure has shown a tendency of becoming an inverted pyramid, in the future whether our young people can really afford to support the elderly? How scary would be the shrinking of local labour force? Is it feasible to extend the retirement age in order to maintain our labour population ratio? Would it affect the promotion of our young people? After all, when we get old, whether we can still live happily?
What I think may be exactly what you think. I wish to help Hong Kong relieving the problem of ageing. How about you?
A wish to change people’s mind
To help, I tried to think about where the trouble lies and find out how to keep the old people happy. From my own research and observation, I discover some common thinking and phenomenon which we should think deeper:
Firstly, the “cliff jumping” phenomenon commonly arises in the retiring population, meaning that a person was in the climax of his career life just before retirement, but stops working entirely after retirement, sometimes even staying at home a lot. In such a big sudden change of one’s life pattern, it is not difficult to imagine retired persons cannot adapt to his new life and face various degrees of psychological pressure. Secondly, young people normally understand very little about the thoughts, ability, needs etc. of the elderly; some even expel or discriminate the older persons.
In fact, science develops fast nowadays, many retired elderly are still able and willing to work. A new term has therefore arisen to describe these people – “third age”, meaning the stage of life beginning from retirement and ending when the person needs nursing care; this normally refers to the age between 50 and 80. Many experts pointed out that nowadays the third age is the genuine golden years of adulthood, because these people have experience, mature enough, relatively good health, and some are even financially sound.
For the fruitful and enjoyable life of the retired people, and for enhancing Hong Kong’s competitiveness and sustainability, I wish all of us would adjust our views about retired elderly:
- The retired elderly themselves should give up the “cliff jumping” practice. Instead, they should remain energetic and strive for an “active ageing” life. At the same time, they should not hesitate to contribute their talents. Think in this way, if we tightly embrace our talents not using them, these are no longer talents, but just memories.
- Younger generations should throw away their prejudice that “retired elderly are useless and out-of-fashion”. They should try to recognise, appreciate and make good use of the retired elderly’s wisdom and experiences, encouraging them to apply their talents.
A pressing appeal
The negative impacts to the Hong Kong society out of the rapidly population ageing gradually emerge. We can no longer apply our existing mentality and ways to tackle the ageing problem; we even cannot slow down avoiding the problem. On one hand, we need to take care of the psychological and living needs of the growing number of elderly; on the other hand, we need to react fast to maintain the local labour workforce, in order to avoid severe deterioration of our livelihood and economy.
I hope that the community, business, the Government and schools could collaborate and apply innovative and sustainable ways to tackle the ageing problem, enabling our third age group to live fruitfully and bringing prosperity to our society.