We are happy to introduce Ray Law who is our new Asian (Chinese) Service Coordinator.
His role at Age Concern is to address the challenges and meet the needs of older Chinese people living in Auckland. There are around 10,000 Chinese over the age of 65 living in Auckland (2013 Census) and immigrants comprise 91 percent of the total older Chinese population. Numbers have rapidly increased through the past decades and they are predicted to continuously increase in the future. These elderly people left their family and friends in China and came to New Zealand to start a new life. They reported encountering many challenges in their daily life, such as language barriers, lack of knowledge about the health care and social system, and difficulties around travelling to places. Some of the older people can overcome these hurdles with the support of their family but a large number are living alone in isolation as their family are unable to help them due to a variety of reasons. Although there are agencies and groups working for the Chinese community, there are only a few which are well established and they face challenges meeting the growing demands. Most of all these services do not specially cater for the older people. Therefore, these older Chinese migrants’ needs have not been met by the mainstream.
In order to fill this gap, Ray has started to collaborate with other existing Chinese agencies and groups, in order to connect the older people to the services and activities available for them to create a sense of belonging in this community. He also gives talks to the Chinese groups to promote positive aging and raises people’s awareness about ways to prevent elder abuse and neglect. Ray also supports Chinese clients when accessing social services and provide language support and cultural advice to other professionals when working with Chinese clients.
In the Chinese culture, there is a saying: “a family with an old person has a living treasure of gold.” Like other cultures, Chinese treat elderly people with respect and dignity as they are full of wisdom and experience in life. It is our wish that we can continue and carry forward this belief, so that all older people can live a happy and respectful life.