Project CADENZA takes elderly care in Hong Kong to new apex

May 22, 2006

New York, NY – Dr. Ada Mui, a professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work, has received a $1.46 million dollar grant from The Hong Kong Jockey Club. The grant is part of a five-year, multi-million dollar community project initiated by the Club to help revolutionize the way Hong Kong views and cares for its elderly population. Dr. Mui will be the Principal Investigator in developing a new design and training program for social workers in the field of gerontology in Hong Kong.

Entitled “CADENZA: A Jockey Club Initiative for Seniors,” the project was officially launched on May 19th in Hong Kong by SAR Chief Executive Donald Tsang, Club Chairman Ronald Arculli, and three local Hong Kong celebrities who have been appointed as Ambassadors for the program: Do Do Cheng, Leo Ku and Woo Kai Sau (Woo Fung). “CADENZA” stands for “Celebrate their Accomplishments; Discover their Effervescence and Never-ending Zest as they Age.” The name was chosen because the Italian word cadenza, a musical term referring to a virtuoso solo passage near the end of a movement in a concerto, is also used figuratively to describe the apex of one’s life and the celebration of a lifetime’s accomplishments.

The CADENZA project was developed in response to the changing demographic trends in Hong Kong that will see the proportion of senior citizens more than double over the next 20 years. “We realized that if no action were taken to change the attitude and mindset of the general public, elderly issues would present a growing problem and burden to our society,” Mr. Arculli explained. “As a responsible member of the community, the Club is always keen to play its part in helping Hong Kong tackle these important issues.”

“This is the first collaboration between The Hong Kong Jockey Club and the Columbia University School of Social Work. CADENZA could flourish into a new culture and create continual power to encourage the elderly,” said Dr. Mui. “We need people who care for their elders and professional care workers to learn and work together, so that our senior citizens have a better future. The elderly should not be viewed as a social problem, but rather as part of a community’s social growth.”

The project comprises five components: a leadership programme to encourage more faculty members and post doctoral students to specialise in gerontology (the scientific study of the social and psychological aspects of aging); an education and training program for frontline care workers and professionals who work with the elderly; a public education program targeting the entire community; a demonstration unit to pilot new approaches to home and residential care taught in the education and training program; and an evaluation of all the components. Dr. Mui will also be collaborating with colleagues at Minnesota and the Chinese University of Hong-Kong on the project.

“We are very proud of Professor Ada Mui – a leading gerontologist, educator, and scholar – who has had a longstanding professional and personal commitment to the well-being of Asian elders internationally as well as in the United States,” said Jeanette Takamura, Dean of the Columbia University School of Social Work. “The School is pleased to be a partner in this very important initiative, which we believe will ensure that Hong Kong elders will be well served and cared for in their later years.”

For more information or to interview Dr. Ada Mui, please contact Jeannie Yip at 212-851-2327 or jy2223@columbia.edu.

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