Yee Hong’s story one of per­se­ver­ance, growth

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By NA LI in Toronto re­nali@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

The Yee Hong story is one of a com­mu­nity that de­fied the odds to over­come set­backs, con­tro­ver­sies, naysay­ers and fi­nan­cial chal­lenges. But most of all, it is the story of com­pas­sion in the face of heart­break.

To­day, Yee Hong, which pro­vides se­nior ser­vices, stands as a bea­con to a grow­ing com­mu­nity, a tes­ta­ment to the power and prom­ise of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism. It of­fers an ex­am­ple to Canada and the world of how to care for ag­ing par­ents.

Start­ing with noth­ing in 1987, Yee Hong is now the largest non­profit geri­atric care cen­tre in North Amer­ica. The dream was in­spired by the plight of Chi­nese se­niors in main­stream Cana­dian nurs­ing homes who were treated by peo­ple who didn’t understand their cul­ture and lan­guage.

Yee Hong is well known in­ter­na­tion­ally for its se­nior ser­vices, par­tic­u­larly cul­tur­ally ap­pro­pri­ate ser­vices to dif­fer­ent Asian com­mu­ni­ties, es­pe­cially Chi­nese. The guid­ing prin­ci­ple in the core of Yee Hong’s val­ues has been the best part of Chi­nese cul­ture for cen­turies: fil­ial piety.

“The ag­ing trend is ev­i­dent in all coun­tries, par­tic­u­larly in China, where the rate of ag­ing in the so­ci­ety is even faster than that of Canada in the next two decades. Fac­ing such a huge pop­u­la­tion of se­niors is a big chal­lenge to any gov­ern­ment and so­ci­ety,” said Dr. Joseph Wong, Yee Hong founder and foun­da­tion chair­man.

“It has to be sys­tem-com­pat­i­ble with the her­itage and cul­ture of Chi­nese peo­ple, meet­ing their phys­i­cal, nu­tri­tional and emo­tional needs, in an ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient man­ner,” Wong said.

Rec­og­niz­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise of Yee Hong, for­mer prime min­is­ter Stephen Harper in­vited Wong on a trip to China in 2012, to meet with an of­fi­cial in­volved with se­nior af­fairs in China.

More than 1,000 del­e­ga­tions and groups have vis­ited Yee Hong on the rec­om­men­da­tion of the On­tario Min­istry of Health and Long Term Care, most of them from the Chi­nese main­land and Hong Kong, in­clud­ing mu­nic­i­pal, provin­cial, and cen­tral gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in­sur­ance com­pa­nies and other fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, small and large de­vel­op­ers and so­cial ser­vices agen­cies.

Yee Hong has been work­ing with many dif­fer­ent groups in the Chi­nese main­land and Hong Kong for the past few years. It is in the process of set­ting up of­fices in Hong Kong and the Chi­nese main­land to work with dif­fer­ent lo­cal part­ners to bring its busi­ness model to China. Yee Hong expects the of­fices to be op­er­a­tional in a few months.

“We are able to of­fer com­pre­hen­sive ser­vices to our part­ners in Hong Kong and the main­land, in­clud­ing ad­vice and in­put in set­ting up na­tional and lo­cal care­standards and poli­cies, train­ing of man­age­ment and front-line work­ers, res­i­den­tial and com­mu­ni­ty­based pro­grams, long-term care, care-giver sup­port and ed­u­ca­tion, de­sign of res­i­den­tial and long term care fa­cil­i­ties, com­mu­nity ser­vice cen­tres etc,” said Wong.

“We can work with lo­cal uni­ver­si­ties, col­leges, and oc­cu­pa­tional train­ing cen­tres in the de­sign of curriculum and train­ing of in­struc­tors,” he said. “We are work­ing with de­vel­op­ers and offering man­age­ment and train­ing ser­vices to the se­nior cen­tres they are plan­ning to es­tab­lish in dif­fer­ent re­gions in China.”

NA LI / CHINA DAILY

Dr Joseph Wong, Yee Hong founder and foun­da­tion chair­man

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