Association of Retired Elderly Limited (ARE) was incorporated in March 2014 as a company limited by guarantee pursuant to the new Companies Ordinance. This Association is a non-profit making organisation, and a charitable organisation with tax exemption under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance. An employment agency licence was also granted by the Commissioner for Labour to this Association under section 52 of the Employment Ordinance.
The purpose of establishing this Association is to promote “active ageing”. We mainly serve retired persons aged 50 to 80 to help them adapting retired life, and to apply innovative and sustainable ways to enable them living an active ageing life.
To be concrete, our social enterprise project (ARE Wisdom) provides work, service and earning opportunities to the retired elderly; we also provide a wide range of activities to give knowledge and pleasant experience to our members in a new manner.
We profoundly believe that the new generation of retired elderly in Hong Kong, which nowadays commonly called “the third aged”, could live more fruitfully and happily than the earlier generations; and they could even have a more interactive and harmonious connection with their own family and the society before retirement.
We also believe that as long as appropriate ways are applied, the retired elderly could be as energetic as sunshine, and they could still flutter and soar high to enjoy the freedom and new experiences that they could not have possessed before retirement.
Shaking off the old way of thinking and building a new society, “WE ARE THIRD AGE PIONEERS”. This is not only our slogan, but also the new attitude towards ageing that we advocate for to people of all ages and background.
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:
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?
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.
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.
This Association strives for promoting “active ageing” and pursues the ultimate goal of all retired elderly having a healthy, enjoyable, dignified, meaningful and sustainable life. We seek to become a world-class non-profit making organisation innovative for the betterment of elderly, and to work hand-in-hand with the Government and all sectors in the society to actively tackle the increasingly serious ageing problem.
This Association embraces the following values：
Fruitful Life : The elderly are entitled to enjoy a physical and psychological healthy, meaningful, fruitful and enjoyable retired life
Independence : The elderly could be confident and independent with their own choice and control in sustainable ways that are beneficial and affordable to them
Brilliance : The elderly could live brilliantly, applying different ways to release their work ability in contributing the society and prolong their vivid lives
Problem Solving : To ensure their active ageing life feasible and sustainable, the elderly require “knowledge”, “work” and “money”; this Association practically assists the elderly to handle these three problems
Work Together : Neither the Government alone nor any single group can cope with the ageing problem; this Association is eager to work together with any sector or organization to promote active ageing
This Association strives for excellence in：
Fulfilling Active Ageing : Seeking and fulfilling innovative, effective and sustainable ways to promote active ageing and to prolong as much as possible the vitality and independence of the elderly
Knowledge Changes Destiny : Providing learning opportunities to the elderly, broadening their horizons, and equipping them with knowledge and ability to make an informed decision on their retired life
Win-win to Elderly and Business : Building a work matching platform to provide rewarding work opportunities to the elderly on one hand, and to provide workforce and pass down wisdom of doing business to the younger generations of businessmen
Keeping Connect to Society : Encouraging the elderly to actively participate in volunteer work, keeping contact to the society and pace with the times
Adaptation to Retired Life : Assisting the elderly to adapt their retired life and make appropriate arrangements for their remaining years