Hong Kong Free Press
25th November 2023
As Hong Kong’s elderly face loneliness epidemic, carers hope dogs and disco will keep post-Covid isolation at bay
The number of suicides in Hong Kong hit a decade-high 1,080 last year, according to the Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong, with more than 40 percent of victims aged 60 or older.
By Xinqi Su
Eyes closed, hips swaying, retiree Polly Chan danced like no one was watching at a community centre in Hong Kong, where experts warn of a loneliness epidemic among the ballooning elderly population.
The 71-year-old and about 30 others were part of a pilot programme called “Noon-D” — for “afternoon disco” — intended to reach out to an increasingly isolated group in the fast-paced city.
A self-proclaimed “rebel” who has been clubbing since she was a teenager, Chan said she struggles to express her unhappiness to her family — and finds the dance floor to be the best cure.