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BACKGROUND: The goal of this study is to estimate the long-term care needs of the Hong Kong Chinese population age 70 years and older, and to identify risk factors for institutionalization. METHODS: A three-year prospective follow-up study was carried out in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China. 2,032 subjects aged 70 years and older were recruited territory-wide by stratified random sampling of the Old Age and Disability Allowance register, covering over 90% of the elderly population. A questionnaire was administered at baseline to obtain information on social, functional, physical, and mental health status, and place of residence. A repeat interview was carried out at 36 months. The number of subjects moving from home to institution or vice versa, and the number who had died, were noted. Univariate analysis was performed to determine risk factors for institutionalization, and backward stepwise multiple logistic regression was used to identify independent factors predisposing to institutionalization. RESULTS: The institutionalization rate per year is estimated to be 0.7% for the 70-79 age group, and 1.5% for the 80+ age group. Using population figures projected by the Hong Kong Census, the corresponding number of places required will be 24,150 and 42,000, respectively, for the two age groups by 2005, whereas the number of government subvented places projected to be available is unlikely to be more than 40,000 for the whole population. Age, being a woman, being single, not having a formal education, cognitive impairment, physical dependency, and the presence of depressive symptoms were factors predisposing to institutionalization. In multivariate analysis, age, marital status, and dependency were identified as independent factors. CONCLUSION: The requirement for institutional places is unlikely to be met by government, the shortfall likely to be met by the private sector. Maintenance of functional independence, good social support network, engagement in social activities, and good informal carer support may reduce demand for institutional care.

Original publication




Journal article


J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci

Publication Date





M64 - M69


Activities of Daily Living, Age Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Analysis of Variance, Cognition Disorders, Depression, Disease, Educational Status, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Health Services Needs and Demand, Health Status, Hong Kong, Humans, Institutionalization, Logistic Models, Long-Term Care, Male, Marital Status, Mental Health, Prospective Studies, Registries, Residence Characteristics, Risk Factors, Sex Factors, Social Adjustment, Survival Rate