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The Youth – From a Heart for the Elderly to a Taste of “Ageing”

Herman Chan, born in 1990s, has been brought up by his two grandmothers, who travelled all the way to his home on the outlying islands to take care of him day in and day out. Herman has always been deeply touched by the love of his grandparents and enjoyed the company of the elderly.

With a heart for the elderly, Herman had a firm belief that the younger generation should respect and care for the old. Yet, many young people complained about elders at home and some considered taking care of them a burden, or even did not want to live under the same roof with them. Hoping to bring changes to the society, Herman developed an idea of running an old-age simulation programme for participants to experience the difficulties the elderly faced in their everyday life. By putting themselves in the elders’ shoes, it was hoped that young people would nurture a sense of empathy towards the elderly.

In 2012, Herman, then a third-year university student, participated, with his fellow schoolmates, in the 6th Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge. Herman’s team introduced from overseas an elderly simulation suit which had specially designed age-related impediments. Through completion of various tasks, participants wearing the elderly simulation suit acquired a reality experience of old age, thereby promoting respect towards the elderly. This old-age simulation programme successfully transformed conceptual ideas into a feasible business model, winning Herman’s team the championship. With the contest’s Startup Award, they set up Eldpathy, an SE providing old-age simulation experience to young people.

“Eldpathy’s simulation programme seeks to promote young people’s understanding and care towards the elderly, bridge the inter-generation gap and build a harmonious society. Besides care for the elderly, we consider it equally important to brighten their golden years, and the key is to allow them to unleash their potential and cultivate a sense of self-worthiness,” said Herman. Eldpathy has recruited elders as instructors for the programme. Brimmed with energy and vitality, these golden agers prove their worth and mingle well with the young people.

Herman’s experience in his upbringing has given him the impetus to change the society, while SE was a channel for him to fulfil his vision of promoting harmony across generations. Looking ahead, Herman said, “An ageing population brings challenges as well as opportunities. I hope young people of Hong Kong can appreciate and care for the elderly, and join hands to build an embracing society of love.”

SE information:
Eldpathy organises Elderly Simulation Programme for participants including secondary and tertiary students, staff of elderly homes and business organisations etc. Through games designed to simulate the daily life of the elderly, the programme enables participants to experience the everyday difficulties encountered by the elders, with a view to cultivating their empathy and respect for the elderly, as well as inspiring enterprises to explore and tap business opportunities in the “silver hair” market.