Volunteer pedicures help the elderly in Hong Kong
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Hong Kong (AFP) – Gently unwrapping the cling film covering the old man’s damaged feet – blackened and cracked skin, swollen and deformed nails – the Hong Kong beautician does not flinch. Instead, she picks up her tools and starts working.
Once or twice a month, Cass Ng and her team of beauticians swap their nail polish collection for sturdy scissors, nail files, and an electric drill.
Its CHANGE initiative (Caring Health Anywhere Nails Goal Elderly) offers free pedicures for low-income seniors who cannot afford health care and have no family to fall back on.
“We want to serve these people the most because they lack the love of others the most,” the 37-year-old told AFP.
After three years of volunteer manicurists, Ng came up with the idea of ââstarting his own social enterprise to help people – often over the age of 65 and on welfare – unable to afford expensive private health care. from the city.
While Hong Kong has a public health system, many complain that they have to wait long periods to be seen and various illnesses are getting worse.
One of those who was visiting Ng’s free clinic for the first time was Martin Sun, 71, who said he had been troubled by ingrown toenails and fungal infections for years.
He describes today’s treatment, a full pedicure, as blessed relief.
âOtherwise, I would do it myself, bend down, then take a deep breath and endure the pain,â he said, trying to do the same job himself.
Kwan Lung, 86, gave a thumbs up and beamed when he visited the clinic at Kwai Chung Community Center.
“The more they (the manicures) come, the happier we, the elderly, are,” explained the grandmother.
She described “sweating like it’s raining” when she had already tried her own pedicures.
Although the day seems light, says Ng, when the elderly don’t treat their nail fungal infections – the most common problem – they can have difficulty walking.
âSlowly they might tend not to come out and they will become more lonely,â she said.
“If the toenails are set they will feel more comfortable with their feet and canâ¦ walk around and chat with friends.”
âWhen you do a manicure, the smell and the level of dirt are very hard to take,â she said, describing how difficult it was to help a particularly dirty man.
âBut after six months to a year, her situation changed,â she said.
Ng said, “This service shouldn’t be just a small thing in community centers, but a service that might be needed by people all over Hong Kong,” adding that she hoped everyone could one day be put on. an equal footing.
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