Social Welfare Bureau (IAS) Director Iong Kong Io said on Wednesday that his bureau was working with relevant government entities to look for ways to provide jobs for senior citizens in the future.
Iong was responding to a caller during a phone-in programme at Ou Mun Tin Toi, the Chinese-language radio channel of government broadcaster TDM, when he made the remark.
Iong said that based on information provided by the Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC), it was estimated that by 2036 one fifth of the local population will be 65 years old or above.
To address the issues of a rapidly ageing society, the government set up an inter-departmental group in 2012 to study the launch of an elderly care system, and come up with a 10-year plan for elderly care.
A public consultation on the matter began on July 30 and is slated to end on September 12.
Responding to a caller’s question, Iong said he understood that many senior citizens are still capable of working, pointing out that of the 54,000 elderly people in Macau, 8,400 are still working.
He also said his bureau was working with the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) to come up with incentives for companies to hire elderly people, such as by providing subsidies to the employers, which would be included in its 10-year plan for elderly care.
Iong said his bureau would also look to draft laws and regulations to protect elderly people’s rights in the workplace. He hoped that senior citizens would be able to work part time, or take up half-day jobs, if they wish.
Meanwhile, Iong also said there are about 400 senior citizens on the waiting list for a place in an elderly care home, adding that they should be able to move in within a year.
He added that his bureau planned to bring in an additional 2,400 places by 2018, which should be able to handle Macau’s growing ageing population.