The Hong Kong Council of Social Service
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Research on the profile and service needs of elderly carers

Elderly Service – Press Releases      2018/10/18


25% elderly caregivers found as high risk level

Having high caring burden, depressive symptoms and poor family functioning


Research on the profile and service needs of elderly carers


【Press Release 18 Oct, 2018】The Hong Kong Council of Social Service (The Council) had conducted a research on “The profile and service needs of elderly carers”, in collaboration with Centre of Aging, The University of Hong Kong (COA). 1,115 carers from various District Elderly Community Centre (DECC) and Neighborhood Community Centre (NEC) across 18 districts were interviewed. The research was funded by Kerry Group.

The average age of interviewees was 70, while 35% of them were above 75 years old. 80% of interviewees were female. The relationship between carer and care recipients was mostly spouse, while some carers were children of the care recipients. 58% of interviewees had spent more than 40 hours per week on caregiving, which was almost equivalent to a full time job. It was found that care recipients were usually suffered from different kinds of chronic diseases and frail conditions, such as high blood pressure, dementia, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, depression, kidney disease and cancer.

The research concluded that more than 60% of carers were experiencing high caring burden, 55% had depressive symptoms and 40% had poor family function. An alarming figure showed that 25% of carers were experiencing all 3 difficult conditions at the same time, which should be identified as high risk level.

Dr. Vivian Lou, Director of COA pointed out there were several factors leading caregivers to the above mentioned difficult situations, such as worry about financial status, long caregiving hour, own physical status, the first time being caregiver, lack of family support, frailty level of care recipient and the presence of chronic disease found in care recipient, such as dementia, stroke, heart disease and depression etc..

Ms Emily Leung, Chief Officer (Elderly Service) of the Council pointed out that the recent tragic incidents related to carers reflected the pressure and helplessness of the carers; they were in an urgent need of support. The research had confirmed the situation, showing that 44% of participants reported bad sleeping quality while 27% reported a bad or very bad self rated health. The research also showed that caregiver supporting services were inadequate, in terms of financial support, emotion and health support and hotline service. 

The Council suggested that the Government should develop Carer Policy and Carer-centric services, including:

  1. Conduct regular Thematic Household Survey on elderly and carers, so as to understand the profile and needs of elderly and carers, and which helps to map out service plan and allocate resources.
  2. Allocate new resources to develop professional clinical service to meet clinical needs of carers, including case management and counselling service.
  3. Strengthen financial support to the carers to reduce their care burden.
  4. Promote the wellness of carers by using a standardized quick screening tool for self check and encourage needy carers to seek help.



Download the PPT and press conference photo (archive for ZIP file, please unzip with software)




Mr. Eddie Tsang

Senior Manager (Corporate Communication)

The Hong Kong Council of Social Service

Tel: 2864 2982