In 1997, the Hong Kong Jockey Club identified care of the elderly with dementia as an area requiring urgent attention. Armed with the belief that providing quality services and professional training were important and necessary, the Club decided to establish the Jockey Club Centre for Positive Ageing (JCCPA), dedicated to improving care for this group of citizens. The Club invited the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which has played a leading role in dementia research and training in Hong Kong, to help manage the Centre. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust granted a total of $81.23 million to the JCCPA for renovations, furniture and equipment plus operating costs for the first three years.
The JCCPA was inaugurated in June 2000 and now operates on a self-sufficient basis. It provides quality training to people with dementia to delay the decline in cognitive ability and encourage them to maintain normal social activities. It also helps to relieve stress among family members through supporting services and aids the further development of dementia care through training and research.
Thanks to Hong Kong’s economic growth, today we enjoy better medical services and living standards, and the average life expectancy has risen. But with an ageing population, dementia has become increasingly common. According to research by the Department of Health and the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2006, it is estimated that 1 in 10 people aged 65 or above in Hong Kong shows symptoms of dementia — or around 70,000 people in all. It is likely that more people will suffer from dementia as the number of elderly citizens continues to grow.