Elderly care homes in Hong Kong have been charging residents various miscellaneous fees. In some cases, residents were asked to pay HK$200 a month for a “TV electricity fee” and HK$300 a month for air conditioning, according to the Consumer Council.

The consumer watchdog surveyed 85 privately run elderly homes and found that many of their monthly fees do not cover basic items such as electricity and toilet paper.

elderly home
An elderly care home. Photo: Wikipedia Commons.

The surveyed homes charged HK$2-5 for a roll of toilet paper, HK$50-200 per month for TV and HK$95-300 per month for air conditioning, the Council found.

For diapers, some charged between HK$5 and HK$10 per item while others asked for a lump sum of HK$500-2,400 per month.

Out-patient escort services cost HK$100 to HK$500 per use in some nursing homes while others charged by the hour.

These charges were added on top of the “basic monthly fee” that varied from HK$4,500 to HK$21,000, the Council said.

Prices of the basic monthly fee often depends on what facilities the rooms are equipped with, including whether or not they have doors and windows.

“A certain elderly home in Yau Tsim Mong District, for example, charges HK$8,000 for a single room with window and HK$5,000 for one without—a difference of 60 per cent,” the Council said in a press release. “Rooms with and without a door, deluxe rooms and rooms for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients are all priced quite differently, too.”

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.