Yee Hong’s story one of perseverance, growth
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.”
Dr Joseph Wong, Yee Hong founder and foundation chairman