Across the globe, populations are ageing. “In Hong Kong around 31 per cent of the population will be aged 65 or above, by 2036,” notes Professor Padmore Amoah, of Lingnan University’s School of Graduate Studies. “While in Mainland China, it is estimated around 30 per cent of the population will be 60 or above, by 2040.”
Ensuring members of this burgeoning demographic can continue to live healthy, independent, productive and happy lives, for as long as possible, is going to require a greatly expanded body of highly-qualified professionals. It is to this end that Lingnan University’s School of Graduate Studies and Hong Kong Metropolitan University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies have jointly developed a new Master of Science in Smart Ageing and Gerontology (SAG) programme, that will be launched in September 2022.
Successful completion of the programme will open up a growing number of opportunities in both the public and private sectors, in settings such as hospitals and healthcare centres, public health departments, information and technology firms, NGOs, community-based organisations and businesses providing health-related services.
Among the key differentiators of this programme from others available in Hong Kong is a focus on technology and data analytics. Supporting this emphasis are leading specialist academics and facilities, such as Lingnan’s 2,000 sq ft “LU Jockey Club Gerontech-X Lab”.
“This Lab hosts a variety of practical, every day technologies and equipment that older people can use,” explains Prof Amoah.
A dual degree programme with cutting edge courses
Successful graduates from the SAG programme will be awarded two master’s degree certificates; one from Lingnan University (LU) and one from Hong Kong Metropolitan University (HKMU). HKMU is considered the premier nursing education university in Hong Kong, while LU is one of Asia’s leading universities in the fields of social policy, social care and social services research and practice. Together they will offer SAG students nine core courses.
“Lingnan has strong research and teaching expertise in the field of gerontechnology,” points out Dr Daisy Zhu of the university’s School of Graduate Studies. The four courses run by LU’s School of Graduate Studies are: Ageing Policies in Greater China; Research in Health and Social Services, which focuses on qualitative and quantitative approaches to researching health and social care management; Positive Gerontology, which is concerned with the physiological, cognitive, psychological and social changes that come with ageing, and; Data Analytics for Health Management, which introduces the key technologies that support healthcare analytics.
HKMU offers courses in: Smart Ageing, which teaches an understanding of the importance of big data in healthcare; Human Genomics: Implications for Human Health; Building Resilience in the Smart Era, which aims to enhance the capacity of students to survive adversity, and; Frailty Study, which aims to develop students ability to manage the frail.
Finally, a Smart Ageing and Gerontology Capstone Project, run jointly by both universities, will enable students to put theory into practice to solve real-world problems.