‘Cognitively impaired elderly could benefit from tech’ claims leader

LONDON: Technology can enable older people with cognitive impairment to get out and about without getting lost.

Executive Councillor Lam Ching-choi said on Sunday that officials are exploring the use of advanced technology, such as facial recognition, in housing estates to prevent elderly people with cognitive impairment from getting lost.

Lam, who heads an advisory committee on mental health, mentioned that tracking devices are currently being used on some elderly people with cognitive impairment. These technologies can enable them to get out and about without getting lost, which is good for their mental wellbeing and that of their carers, he said.

“The use of facial recognition and artificial intelligence is one of the methods. This will certainly require the consent of the elderly and their family members,” Lam said after attending a Commercial Radio programme.

“There are a lot of such products that have been tested, and the success rate is high. So by using different types of technology, results can be achieved.”

In another matter, Lam expressed concern about the shortage of staff in residential care homes.

He revealed that there is currently a shortage of 20 to 30 percent of the required staff, even after the arrival of 7,000 imported workers.

To address this, the government plans to import about 8,000 workers in phases over the next three years, he said.

Lam suggested exploring cooperation with training organisations on the mainland so that caregivers can obtain the necessary licences before coming to work in Hong Kong.