CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Ministry behind the camera

HONG KONG (SE): A group of retired people between the ages of 60 and 70 is helping Caritas Hong Kong-Services for the Elderly to shoot life stories about senior citizens who are facing the prospect of ailing health.

A film production team was set up in 2015 by the Caritas Support Network for Third Age Services. The volunteers need a basic knowledge about movie-making and on-line editing, and they must be fit enough to handle the equipment used in the various stage of production.

But the group is not without experience, as some of the volunteers had jobs connected with filming prior to retirement.

Angel Yu Lai-wan, the supervisor of Caritas Elderly Centre-Shatin, said the team has videoed many activities for senior citizens and dealt with the editing and sound effects over the past year.

She added that it has also recorded some footage for hobby classes to be uploaded onto websites, for the reference of others in the class.

The team visited the Caritas Harold H. W. Lee Care and Attention Home in Shatin to cover the life stories of residents in October last year.

It has recorded final messages from this world on behalf of over 10 people so that their parting blessing and messages to their loved ones can be kept to give to their families for their memory.

An encouraging story about a courageous struggle of one resident in a care home has also been shot.

Yu said that people of what is referred to as the third age (retirement) have proven to be good and creative producers for such productions, as they have more patience and a better understanding of the needs and the feelings that come with advanced age than their younger counterparts.

They can also learn things that are pertinent to their own lives as they approach their sunset years.

Seventy-six-year-old Ng Kwok-hung, a volunteer who joined the Caritas Hong Kong-Services for the Elderly two years ago, has handled the production of a number of large-scale activities for the team.

He said that his experience in the planning, shooting and editing of the footage about the life stories of the ageing people has taught him that when their health is failing, they still hope to say some heartfelt words to their families, even though some have become mostly inarticulate.

Ng said everyone on the team has their unique life experience, strengths and weaknesses. But he believes that it is not difficult for them to understand each other’s needs and problems, as they are all of a roughly similar age.

However, he pointed out that with the failing memories of some members, it is necessary to repeat instructions on how to use the photography equipment over and over again.

He suggests that a good solution to this is to put the instructions on video so they can be revised at home, without the embarrassment of having to ask the same questions repeatedly.

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