Last modified: 18-11-2010

Residential Care Service in Hong Kong

Before looking for an old age home

Before looking for an old age home, it is important to assure that the medical condition of the older person has been evaluated thoroughly. Some older persons may be allowed to remain at their own home with either their conditions being properly treated or community support services given to them. As many older people prefer to live in their own familiar environment, it is essential to explore any other alternatives to old age home. Sometimes, there may be a need to seek help from social worker concerning the residential care for the elderly. The willingness of the older person should always be taken into account if he or she is capable of making the choice.


  • Introduction of residential care services in Hong Kong

     How to select a suitable old age home

      Practical advice for adapting to old age home

    •  Residential homes database

    •  Related websites


    Introduction of residential care services in Hong Kong

         The levels of care are different for the various types of residential care homes:

    There are various types of residential care homes existing in Hong Kong to meet different care needs of the older persons.

    Nursing Home


    Care & Attention Home


    Home for the Aged


    Hostel for the Elderly


         Remarks : Social Welfare Department has ceased to accept new application for the services of Hostel for the
         Elderly & Home for the Aged since January 2003 in respond to governmental policy on maintaining the older
         people in their own familiar environment by enhancement of community support services.


    Care and Attention Home

    Nursing Home

    Service Description/ Content

    Provide residential care, meals, personal care and limited nursing care for the elders who suffer from poor health or physical/mild mental disabilities with deficiency in activities of daily living but mentally suitable for communal living.

    Provide residential care, meals, personal care, regular basic medical and nursing care, and social support for the elders who suffer from poor health or physical/mental disabilities with deficiency in activities of daily living but mentally suitable for communal living.

    Eligibility Criteria

    •  65 years of age or over (Persons aged between 60 & 64 can apply if there is a proven
       need for residential care based on health and / or social grounds);

    •  mentally suitable for communal living.

    •  in poor health or suffering from
       functional disabilities to the extent that
       assistance in personal care and daily
       living activities is necessary;

    •  able to move around with a walking aid
       or in a wheelchair;

    •  without family members to provide the
       necessary assistance, or causing great
       stress to the family

    •  satisfying at least one of the following
       conditions, but who would not require a
       higher level of care than would be
       needed in either of the two conditions :


    with a medical condition which is stabilized but which still requires regular basic medical and nursing care; &/or


    with chronic disability who, in order to move around, requires, with/without a walking aid or wheelchair, one person to assist him/her but who is in any event not totally chair bound

    Monthly Fee

    Standard fee for subvented homes:

    $1,813 ( for Disability Allowance recipient)
    $1,605 (for Non-Disability Allowance recipient)


    Application Procedures

    Elders or their carers can approach respective Family Services Centres/ Integrated Family Services Centres, Medical Social Services Units, District Elderly Community Centre, Neighbourhood Elderly Centre and Social Centre for the Elderly for application and arrangement of Standardized Care Need Assessment for Elderly Services.


    The waiting time for subvented homes is around 2-3 years due to numerous applications.

    Could apply for subsidized places in private homes under the Bought Place Scheme/Enhanced Bought Place Scheme (waiting time is around 9 months) 

    The waiting time is around 3 years or above.

    (Source of information: Social Welfare Department)

    Information concerning other supporting measures such as higher care supplements, infirmary units in care-and-attention homes, emergency placement service and residential respite service could be viewed from the following website:

    Related website of Social Welfare Department

    How to select a suitable old age home

    Once the need for old age home is indicated, the selection of an old age home for the older person is important for meeting his/her needs and expectations. Some factors such as bed availability, provision of services & facilities that needed by the older person, affordability, service quality, location, and so on should be considered when evaluating your choices. Remember to choose old age homes with licence granted by Social Welfare Department. It is worthwhile to visit several old age homes for comparisons and go along with the older person if possible. You may also visit the homes a second and third time during weekends or evenings for getting a more thorough picture on the staffing and service provisions in different times. The following is a checklist that you can print it out and take along with you during your visit to help your evaluation.

    Checklist for evaluating old age homes (Print)


    •  Does the home have the licence granted by Social Welfare Department
       which needed to be posted in sight?

    •  Does the home display the Business Registration Certificate and other
       insurance related certificates?


    •  Is the home spacious enough for movement & activity?

    •  Are there handrails installed in hallways, toilets & bathrooms for aiding
       mobility of the residents?

    •  If the home is not located on ground floor, is there a lift available for access by
       the residents?

    •  Are there sufficient emergency exits, fire alarms, smoke detectors & sprinkler

    •  Are there simple exercise equipment & recreational facilities?


    •  Is the lighting adequate in residents' rooms, common areas & all the

    •  Does the home have good ventilation?

    •  Is the home clean? Are the floors free from spills & rubbish?

    •  Is there no odor around the home?

    •  Is the home located in a place which is easily accessed? Is there any
       restaurant, shopping store or open area nearby?


    •  Is there sufficient manpower to serve the residents especially in evenings &

    •  Do the staff treat the residents respectfully? Do the staff communicate well
       with the residents & visitors?


    •  Is there a written description of fees listing the basic charge & any additional
       charges e.g. escort service, diapers, laundry, etc.?

    •  Is there a written guidance on withdrawal procedure listing details for
       reimbursement for deposit & application fees?

    •  Are there clear documentation & payment procedure for keeping record of the
       services received by the resident?


    •  Are the meals adequate in amount & variety? Does it concern balanced diet?

    •  Does the menu offer choices for residents with special needs, such as those
       with diabetes, vegetarian or swallowing difficulty?

    •  Is the staff there to help the residents with difficulty in feeding during

    Services and Additional Services

    •  Is the quality of services up to standard? Are the lifting & caring techniques

    •  Is there any registered or enrolled nurse responsible for the delivery of

    •  Is there any visiting medical officer providing consultation on a regular basis?

    •  Are there any physiotherapist, occupational therapist & social worker
       providing related services to residents?

    •  Are there recreational activities, group activities & volunteer visits held
       regularly? Is there any monthly activity calendar?

    •  Is escort service provided and how is the charge?

    •  Is there any staff training provided on a regular basis?

    •  Is there special arrangement for residents with religious or cultural need?

    •  Is there special arrangement for residents with dementia?


    •  Is there any facility to prevent residents with cognitive impairment from
       wandering outside?

    •  Are the residents' personal items being well protected?

    Reference: 選擇安老院舍小貼士 (社會福利署出版) 、非一般的照顧「家居護老者手冊」 (救世軍安老服務部出版)

    Hong Kong Association of Gerontology (Chinese Only)
    ( 列出通過評審的院舍名單及資料)

    List of residential care home for the elderly successfully prosecuted by Social Welfare Department


    Practical advice for adapting to old age home

    For the older persons

    •  Have a visit before moving to the old age home in order to have a basic understanding on the daily routine
       and environment of the old age home.

    •  Share your feelings or worries frankly with your families, friends or social worker.

    •  Acknowledge that it is normal to have a short period of time for adaptation to the changing of living

    •  After moving to old age home, try to be familiar yourself with its daily routine and environment by active
       participation in activities and interaction with other residents.

    •  Remember to talk to staff and families when you encounter any difficulty in the home.

    For the family members

    •  Involve your elder in the decision making process for choosing old age homes.

    •  Concern your elder's worries and encourage expression of feelings or fear and clarify for any

    •  Keep close contact with your elder by paying regular visits or having telephone contact especially during the
       initial phase to prevent your elder having the feeling of being abandoned.

    •  Communicate with staff or case worker for your elder so as to understand more about your elder's living in
       the home.

    •  Pay attention to your elder's physical & mental condition after moving to the home. Report to staff for any
       abnormal change detected so that your elder can be referred to get appropriate assessment and treatment.

    •  Treat your elder as a family member of your family even after moving to the home and let him or her know
       about the family issues.

    Residential homes database

    List of residential care homes provided by Social Welfare Department
    This link provides updated lists of subsidized residential services, non-subsidized residential services, private homes for the elderly participating in Enhanced Bought Place Scheme and private homes issued with license.

    Related websites

    Residential Care Services for the Elderly, Social Welfare Department
    Housing for Elderly Persons, Hong Kong Housing Authority
    Senior Citizen Residences, Hong Kong Housing Society
    Housing Society Elderly Resources Centre