By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The Government expects to build five elderly nursing homes that can raise the service quotas by at least 820 in the next three to five years, to help address the needs of Macau’s ageing population.
Vice-chairman of the Elderly Affairs Committee, Iong Kong Io, told reporters after a plenary meeting yesterday that four daycare centres with 280 places and five day centres for the elderly providing about 1,000 places are also planned.
In addition, he said a public tender for the construction of a 294-place nursing home located next to the Po Tai Monastery in Taipa will be staged “shortly” and it is expected that the facility can become operational in 2012.
Iong, who is also the director of the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS), said he believed that the new service quotas created in the next couple of years will be able to meet the demand in the territory.
Macau currently has about 44,000 residents aged 65 or above, accounting for 8 percent of the total population.
Of these elderly people, Iong said around 4 percent or 1,700 are in need of constant nursing care.
All the public and private nursing homes in Macau can offer a total of 1,300 places, he disclosed, adding that there are at present 194 and 347 applicants respectively on the IAS and private care homes’ waiting lists.
However, the IAS pointed out that the two waiting lists consist of applications from the same individuals and therefore the demand cannot be reflected by simply adding up the two numbers of applicants.
Meanwhile, Iong said the IAS will expand the unified assessment and central referral mechanism to the Betania Home in Ilha Verde, Santa Maria Home in Rua do Campo as well as the S. Francis Xavier Home in Mong Ha, all run by Caritas Macau, in the second half of this year.
Caritas’ Meng Fai Nursing Home in Areia Preta has been using this mechanism on a trial basis since 2007. Iong said the unified assessment tool has effectively identified applicants who did not actually require constant nursing care so that resources could be allocated to the right candidates.
A public consultation for the framework law to protect the elderly’s rights and interests is expected to be launched in May.
Iong said the draft of the law has been completed and the bureau will strive to finish the consultation process by the end of this year in the hope that the legislation can be implemented in 2013.