The government appears set to launch a scheme to help single elderly people hire a domestic worker.

Dr Lam Ching-Choi, chairman of the Elderly Commission, said in a radio programme on Wednesday that the government is planning to subsidize the cost of hiring domestic workers for elderly people who live alone in public rental flats, Oriental Daily reported.

Lam said the scheme could be extended to cover elderly couples in public flats if implemented.

The subsidized amount could reach HK$3,000 (US$384) to HK$8,000 and will be dispensed in the form through community care service vouchers. Recipients can decide how to use the vouchers based on their own needs, be it to hire a maid or purchase other care services, Apple Daily reported.

Elderly groups mostly welcome the initiative but Crystal Yuen from the Society for Community Organisation (SoCo) said single elderly people living in private housing should also be included in the scheme as they usually had a weak social network, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.

Lam later said that SoCo’s suggestion would be considered.

He said he expected around 10,000 to 20,000 people to benefit from the scheme as it stands, and the government could subsidise a quarter to a half of a helper’s wage.