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Keep & Touch
ICT Application


UCA Project


ICT Application


September 2022


Product Design, UX Design, Research

Keep & Touch Cover

Project Background

Recently, the waves of mass migrations have evolved into the talk of the town in Hong Kong. According to the survey from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (HONG KONG INSTITUTE OF ASIA-PACIFIC STUDIES, 2021), more than 42% of respondents indicated they indented to emigrate from Hong Kong if they had the opportunity. Another survey in 2022 (Media OutReach, 2022) revealed that nearly 80% of 500 respondents are considering or planning to move abroad and pointed out that the United Kingdom, Australia and Taiwan are the top three locations they would like to emigrate. The additional data from Google Trends (GoogleTrends, 2022) shows that the search result for "migration" has sharply risen in Hong Kong since 2019. Also, it reveals that the United Kingdom and its related keywords occupy a significant proportion of the "migration" related topics and queries.

At the same time, the assessment by the UK Home Office news team predicts that between 258,000 and 322,000 Hongkongers with their dependants will migrate to the UK over five years (Home Office news team, 2022). By integrating the above data, the project will focus on the migrants from Hong Kong who relocated to the UK and will base on this target group to explore the opportunity.

Project Framework:
Double Diamond Process 

Design Council's Double Diamond Process (O'Grady and O'Grady, 2017:107) is a project development model that outlines four stages: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver. It guides designers from researching the problem assignment to designing the finished solution with iterative loops between phases. This project will follow this model as the framework and starts from the Problem Assignment:

Problem Assignment

Migrated adult children from Hong Kong are facing transnational family relationships challenging. 
What is the influence on their family? 

Discover Stage
Secondary Research

Migrated adult children in the UK

As the introduction mentioned, we will focus on investigating the demographic and psychographics of the migrated Hong Kong adult children to the UK to understand the project's target users better. According to the quantitative research reports from the UK about the BN(O) visa holders (The Migration Observatory, 2021) (Home Office, 2022), the data show that the recent migrants from Hong Kong are primarily young and mainly between 35 to 45 old. They are numerous to have a degree or higher educational level and be married. Furthermore, most had one or more children living together in the UK.

To further study the psychographics of the migrants as discussed above, we have studied the newspaper, websites, and survey reports to discover the target's attitudes, activities, personalities and values. According to the Oxford survey (Westbrook, 2021b), most respondents said their children's future was their most significant personal consideration, worrying that their income would fall in Britain. A study (Westbrook, 2022) about the mental health of new Hong Kong immigrants shows that the new adjusting to life in Britain, such as finding a job, new language, and tensions with their family members and children, are commonly discussed problems. Dr Brent Horner (Westbrook, 2022) noted that migrants from Hong Kong lack proximity to family and social connections after emigration. Lucille Ngan, associate professor of social science (Westbrook, 2021a), mentions that the migrants from Hong Kong feel guilt and ambivalence when deciding to leave their left-behind parents because of the traditional Chinese filial fidelity. Nevertheless, they are more willing to consult and share their emotional and mental issue privately with their friends and family than with therapists or Hong Kong Community Groups (Hongkongers in Britain, 2022). 

Based on the above data, we can point out some characteristics of migrated adult children from Hong Kong to the UK:


In order to understand the transnational family relationship of migrated adult children from Hong Kong, we investigated the interview data from SCMP (Siu et al., 2021) (Westbrook et al., 2021) of 10 Hongkongers living in Britain about their family relationship challenges. Additional, we utilise two online Wordcloud generators: TagCrowd and WordClouds, to extract and analyse the content of the interviews and generate the structured Wordclouds to display frequent words appearing and arrange all words in a cluster format. Also, we apply the Text Mining of the interviews. The analysis result shows that the words: Family, Left-behind, Parent, Mother, Father, and Relationship are the essential topics that migrants care about in the interview.


Based on the previous findings from the secondary research about the migrated adult children in the UK, we use the KWHL Table (O'Grady and O'Grady, 2017:116) to organise the findings and develop further research strategies by asking four questions, Know, What, How, Learned. This process provides the directions for the following research regarding migrated children worrying about their left-behind parents and changing family relationships. Hence we need to do more in-depth research on these topics through Literature Reviews, Case Studies and Interviews with migrated children and Social workers.

Left-behind parents in Hong Kong

From the consequence of the KWHL Table, the following discovery process is that we will investigate the influence of Hong Kong adult children's migration to their left-behind parents. According to a research article from BMC Public Health (Adhikari et al., 2011), the children's migration negatively affects the left-behind elderly's mental health. Furthermore, it points out that alleviating the symptoms of the elderly's poor mental health can improve the well-being of families and their family relationships. 

Another integrative review article (Thapa et al., 2018) reveals a similar perspective: the left-behind elderly are at raised risk of mental health and emotional issues because of their children's migration. The article shows that left-behind parents' main mental problems are: Depression, Anxiety, Loneliness, and Cognitive Impairment. Moreover, the significate related factors to the elderly emotional problem are Gender, Age, Marital Status, Type of Residence, Education, Economic Status, Place of Residence, Disease Condition, and Social Support. The definition of Social Support includes aid from family, friends, co-workers, neighbours, and other sources of support (Nguyen et al., 2016). 

The summation of previous research shows that the children's migration changes family support and negatively affects left-behind parents' emotions.

In addition, to understand the situation of the left-behind elderly in Hong Kong, we have searched for related information from different news platforms. The interview article with Caritas Family Crisis Support Centre (hk01, 2021) reveals that the case of migration-related is increasing in 2021. The average age of the help seekers is 56 old, and over 40% of seekers are 70 years old. 75% of total seekers are left-behind elderly. Most of them feel abandoned and worry about their future life, such as going to the hospital without being accompanied. 

Another interview study (Westbrook, 2021a) shows why left-behind elderly are unwilling to leave Hong Kong. The main reasons are worrying about language issues, staying with their friends and relatives in the city, and transforming their late stage of life. Gary Tang, an assistant professor of social science, explains that left-behind elderly have used to rely on their neighbourhood and peers in Hong Kong for living support and resources. A survey by Hang Seng University reflects the left-behind elderly' attitudes, showing that 75% of those aged 70 and above have no intentions of leaving Hong Kong since they are wary of adapting to a new country and lifestyle. The article of 4 elderly and the community organiser of SoCO interviews (Westbrook, 2021a) shows that Hong Kong left-behind parents were facing mental issues such as Depression and Loneliness. They worry about the loss of financial and emotional support from their adult children. They think the time difference is the main factor affecting communication with their oversea children. Below shows the summary findings about left-behind parents in Hong Kong.

Transnational family relationship

The influence of transnational family relationships

After studying the migrated adult children and left-behind parents, the following part is the influence of transnational family relationships research.

The family members' emotional and mental problems impact their family's well-being and relationships and cause difficulties in their family routines, activities and finances. In the same way, the consequence of impaired family relationships significantly impacts members' emotions and mental, and this interaction becomes a vicious circle to influence transnational families (Butterworth, 2008) (Better Health Channel, 2015). Additionally, the wave of out-migration raises the pressure on social systems because the family carers leave their parents and Hong Kong. It leads to children decreasing their support for their left-behind parents and affecting their family's well-being (Westbrook, 2021a). In the next part, we will discover and study the current solutions to help transnational families.

How ICT helps the transnational family

According to the article about family communication (Drogos and Wilson, 2021), regularly keeping in touch with transnational family members through information and communications technology (ICT) helps maintain and strengthen geographically separated family well-being and bonds. The interactive media on a smartphone, such as Text Messages, Video Chat and calls, deliver the "connected presence" to busy and spatially dispersed families. ICT lets transnational families create simultaneous and ongoing belonging across temporal and geographic distances. Furthermore, ICT helps their space of transnational connection and facilitates their family emotional streaming and affects storage. Also, it improves their daily family interactions and relationships (King-O'Riain, 2015).


Below is the description of how ICT help to maintain transnational family relationships. 


Point of view of the research findings

According to the research findings in the earlier selections, we have consolidated the essentials to propose the project's point of view to provide the precise direction for further study.


Case Study

ICT product for the left-behind elderly in Hong Kong

As explained earlier, the following section is to investigate the ICT products in Hong Kong for transnational families to take care of their left-behind parents. We have found 3 case studies: Thousand Miles Care (Senior Citizen Home Safety Association, 2022), ComHome (ComHome, 2021) and HK HealthKeeper (HK HealthKeeper, 2022), to study the product's communication and service methods between migrated adult children and left-behind parents in Hong Kong. 

The following figure depicts the research result of the ICT services for the Left-behind Elderly in Hong Kong. Moreover, the diagram describes the communication path between Left-behind Elderly, Migrated Adult Children and Service providers.

Based on our investigation of the case studies, we find that users need to utilise the company's specific ICT devices when they use the Thousand Miles Care and HK HealthKeeper services. It will increase the complication of communication. Moreover, all report information of every time elderly's services has to update by the caregiver. The private personal information safety of elderly users is a critical potential crisis that transnational families must pay attention to when using ICT. Both services can help the elderly with health care and medical support to reduce their migrated children's pressure. However, they do not help facilitate the communication of transnational families to maintain their relationships because their design purpose is exclusively for tangible aid and service for the elderly in Hong Kong and unsuited for emotional support.

Summarise the secondary research process

We have collected and analysed outside parties' data about the migrated adult children from Hong Kong to the UK and their left-behind parents. Furthermore, we have studied their transnational family relationships and the ICT product in Hong Kong that helps take care of the elderly living.

In the next step, we will conduct the primary research methods for further understanding our project's target group, migrated adult children from Hong Kong. Collecting the original data helps to gain meaningful insight from the potential end users and supports the definition of the design project's purpose, brief and goals.  


Primary Research


Interview: Migrated adult children from Hong Kong

We have invited five migrated adult children from Hong Kong to participate in face-to-face or video call interviews. The below figure is their demographic and interview information.

Interview purpose:

To get first-hand information from migrated adult children about the reason for their concern about left-behind parents, their opinion of transnational family challenging and the difficulty of communicating with their oversea parents via ICT apps. To empathise with the user and fill up the missing information in the secondary research.


Interview Question:
  • What do they concern about their left-behind parents?

  • How is their transnational family relationship?

  • How do they use ICT to communicate with family members?

  • What is the difficulty when their parents use ICT?

Texting Mining of the interview data

After collecting the critical content from the interview participants, we sorted the data into five main theme groups: Left-behind Parents, Family relationships, Migrated Adult Children, ICT and Social Support, and analysed and clustered the groups to look for patterns in primary data to understand migrants' needs better. Below is the visualised diagram of the data analysis process. Eventually, we organised the interview findings to form the data categorisation table.

Moreover, we highlight the critical findings from the migrated adult children's interviews. 


Interview: Elderly social workers in Hong Kong

We have invited two elderly social workers: Ben, who has over ten years of working experience in the Elderly Community Centre, and Ting, who has over seven years of working experience in On-site Elderly Service, for the face-to-face interviews. The purpose is to comprehend the left-behind elderly issue trends and the relevant social support in Hong Kong. At the same time, to get information about the situation of the elderly when using mobile apps to communicate with family and the transnational family relationship. Help to understand the phenomenon comprehensively. Table 6 shows the questions of the interview.


Interview Question:

  • How about the left-behind elderly issue in the social centre recently?

  • How does the social centre help the left-behind elderly?

  • What about the social centre's elderly users using ICT?

  • What is the opinion about the left-behind elderly and migration family support in Hong Kong?


Texting Mining of the interview data

The below shows the organised content of Ben's and Ting's interviews. Based on the five main theme groups: Left-behind Parents, Family relationships, Migrated Adult Children, ICT and Social Support, we make the data analysis diagram to display our critical findings from the interview, helping to generate meaningful insight for the subsequent process. 


Define Stage
Finding Summary


In the previous sections, we collected relevant qualitative and quantitative research data about how migration influences Hong Kong migrated adult children's transnational family relationships with their left-behind parents. Moreover, we have used various secondary and primary research methods to study and analyse different aspects of the project's target users. This section will summarise our findings to frame the insights for developing the design solution.

Clustering the findings into Jobs, Pains and Gains

To summarise the investigative findings, we utilise Jobs, Pains and Gains points to cluster our users' research findings. Furthermore, organise migrated adult children, left-behind parents and Family relationships as critical points in the diagram table, and then apply the Data Synthesising of Venn Diagramming to picture the relation of different research findings from the Discover Stage.


How Might We

To define the direction for the design brief of initiating the development stage, we ask the consolidated question How Might We to summarise the critical insights of our research for concluding an articulated project design scope. The figure illustrates the relationship between the different components of the design development framework.


Develop Stage

To transit the research insights discovered in the Define Stage to the design concepts and develop the design outcome actionable and deliverable, we start from the Creative Brief to provide the precise directions for further development.

Creative Briefs

Project Description

To create the ICT application for migrated adult children to maintain the new transnational family relationship with their left-behind parent and help them to manage their left-behind parent's routines and emotional support. 

Target Audience

35-45 old migrated adult children from HK to the UK. Family-oriented. Moreover, their left-behind parents stayed in HK and are used to using smartphones and ICT apps.

Project Objectives

Help migrated adult children improve and solve family relationship challenges caused by migration abroad, such as time differences, geographical distance, lack of family connection and left-behind parents issue.


We understand that migrated adult children face the new challenges of transnational family relationships and worry about their left-behind parents' everything simultaneously.
Therefore, our ICT app can assist them in maintaining family relationships and make caring for their parents more convenient and easy.


Observation of Elderly

According to the Creative Briefs, we know that the left-behind parents are the secondary users of our ICT application. Therefore, understanding "How is the user experience of 50-70 olds elderly in Hong Kong using the ICT app?" can support the development of the appropriate design for them. We invited four elderly to participate in a fifteen-minute observation to demonstrate using ICT apps to communicate with their children. The observer recorded the communication process in audio, photo and video files and used POEMS Table (Kumar,2013:104) and Five Human Factors (Kumar, 2013:102) to analyse the elderly experiences. The below figure shows the demographic information of the participants.


Moreover, the following is the highlight of the elderly answering the observer's questions after the demonstration.


User Persona

We created the Typical Transnational Family Stereotypes based on the research data to assist the design development. Billy Ho is a Family-oriented adult child from Hong Kong who has lived in London with his wife and daughter for one year. Billy's mother is staying in Hong Kong, and he has a sister Suyi living in Canada. Billy is finding an ICT application which can use for family communications and be a platform for us to handle our family matters. For example, the medical and daily supports for the left behind parents. He hopes this app can be convenient for his lifestyle and to be easy to use for his mother. Billy needs to communicate with Suyi and the domestic helper to deal with their mother's matters through the ICT application such as WhatsApp. He feels challenged to live chat with his mother and sister simultaneously. 


Here is Billy's Persona (Kumar, 2013:210) which helps describe user personalities and attributes to develop suitable design outcomes for target users.


Time Difference Map

The time difference is one of the significate challenges of Billy's transnational family relationship. To comprehend how time differences affect Billy's care for and support of his mother, we created the Time Difference Map that simultaneously shows their daily working day life. We can find that Billy is hard to spend his time in instant contact with his mother because of the time zone difference. He is available to find his mother and domestic helper during his lunchtime only. Moreover, the mother's doctor consultation is always during Billy's office hours and sleeping time. Another figure illustrates the Time Difference between Billy, Suyi and their mother. We can see that it is challenging to have a live chat with all family members. 


From the above tools and frameworks, we have utilised the insights from the research to develop design directions that focus on the targeted users. Furthermore, the following is about the Developing Framework process to generate the design ideas of the ICT applications for the migrated adult children. 

Developing Framework

As explained earlier, the Develop state focuses on generating different design ideas to expand the possibility of design outcomes. In doing so, we applied the Four Actions Framework (Kim and Mauborgne, 2015) to the Brainstorming process. This framework helps designers follow the Raise, Reduce, Create and Eliminate directions to create new value. In below table, we can find the clustered result of the Brainstorming ideas by different colour memos. Then we try to generate potential options for design solutions by Morphological Synthesis (Kumar, 2013:256), which links complementary ideas in different classifications as a complete system. After repositing the relative ideas, we consolidate the Summary of ideas table and six feature ideas for our designs' Family Relationship Management ICT Platform.


User Testing

To examine the development designs, we created the Prototypes and invited three migrated adult children and three elderlies who participated in our previous interviews to evaluate the design development. Moreover, collect their feedback to measure the design's ability to fulfil their needs, such as usability, functionality, and satisfaction. The following is the highlight feedback of the user testing.


The Design Outcomes

Keep & Touch 

Transnational Family Relationship Management

Based on the User Testing result, we modify the Prototypes to improve the design outcomes to fit our target users' needs and pain points and help them maintain the challenging transnational family relationship. We deliver the design solution: Keep & Touch is the Transnational Family Relationship Management ICT Platform.


Keep can represent the meaning of Not changing the relationship, Continuing doing Something, Not losing love, Storing something, Doing what people promised and Providing somebody with things. Furthermore, Touch is about Feel, No Space between, Affecting somebody's Feelings, Expression, Dealing with and Relating to somebody. 

The figure shows the Keep & Touch icon layouts and the final version. The last icon is what most interviewees choose, and explaining it can represent the ICT and transnational family connection. Also, the colourful graphic is attractive and expresses a warm feeling in the family relationship.


Feature: Connect to WhatsApp

Keep & Touch is an all-in-one platform that integrates different tools to enhance family connections and support family members. The platform connects to WhatsApp API with end-to-end encryption transmission technology that helps migrated children use the communication data by WhatsApp safety to manage the family.


Feature: Platform Dashboard

The critical features of the Keep & Touch platform include WhatsApp Message, Scheduled Message, Message Tags, Calendar, Reminder, Supporting Contact and Yours Tools. The below figure illustrates how users connect to WhatsApp Messager and use our platform tools such as Video & Audio to Text. Also, it shows the linkage of different features on the platform. At the same time, our users can operate Keep & Touch shortcuts on the WhatsApp Message interface. It helps them to connect to the Keep & Touch platform conveniently.

Feature: Keep & Touch WhatsApp Plugin

Available Status

Besides, Keep & Touch provides the WhatsApp Plugin tools such as Available Status and Elderly Mode to assist target users in enjoying a better experience when communicating with their transnational family members. For instance, users turn on the Available Status function on the WhatsApp Settings page.

The figure shows the interface design of the Available Status. The status icons display beside the contact person's profile photos. The green chatting bubble graphic means the person is available to contact, and the red stop graphic means do not disturb. Users can display their time zone and status in the icons to let people know their situation. 

Feature: Keep & Touch WhatsApp Plugin

Elderly Mode

In the user testing, most interviewees like the Available Status feature because it helps them quickly know their transnational members' time zone and reduces communication trouble. Regarding Elderly Mode, it aims to improve the elderly using experience of the existing WhatsApp interface. The more prominent profile photo interface design increases the recognition of contact persons and convenience. All elderly's give positive feedback of Elderly Mode in the user testing and think it helps them to improve the navigation experience. 


User Scenario

In the following design outcomes, we use the different User Scenarios to express how the Keep & Touch features can help potential users through the story and context of Billy's transnational family challenges.

Feature: Keep & Touch Golden Period Reminder 

According to the insight from Time Difference Map and Persona, we know that Billy and Suyi are hard to live-chat with their mother simultaneously. Accordingly, Keep & Touch provides the Gold Period Reminder to propose the appropriate communication time using the Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to our users in different time zones. This reminder aims to raise the frequency of regular family touch. The below figure presents how Gold Period Reminder helps Billy and his family members to arrange the WhatsApp Video Call to suit their time zones and lifestyle.


Feature: Keep & Touch Tips

Additional, Keep & Touch AI can detect and analyse the communication gap between family members by checking their WhatsApp using time. AI will be based on family interaction patterns to offer Tips that suggest members engage in family relationship-building in various activities such as video calls. In Billy's situation, Keep & Touch AI found that his mother and daughter lack of keeping in touch recently. It might affect their relationship and emotion. Therefore, AI sends the Tips Message to Billy to care about the problem and suggests the period for their transnational family time. Keep & Touch hopes the warm tips can encourage members to devote themselves to maintaining family connections.


User Scenario: Dealing with mother's medical matters by Keep & Touch

This scenario begins with Billy getting the notification from Keep & Touch. The message is that his Mum took the body check report today. The figure pictures how Billy communicates to Mum and the domestic helper to organise the report into the Medical folder on our platform through AI and different feature tools such as Reminder, Available Statue, Voice to Text, and Medical Tag

The following day, Billy's sister Suyi read the body check report on Keep & Touch platform. She guided the domestic helper in handling the mother's daily medical treatment and diet control. Suyi uses the Scheduled Message and Diet Tag tools to support their left-behind mother. At this same time, Billy assists his mother in booking the Uber Taxi to the hospital with the extra tools in Keep & Touch. It helps their mother feel the children's connected presence. Also, keep the routines and emotional support as before the children migrate.


From these scenarios, we are confident our design outcomes, the Keep & Touch ICT Platform, can deliver the ability to fulfil our target users, migrated adult children's needs to maintain their transnational family relationships and support their left-behind parents' routine and emotional support. Furthermore, user testing shows that our design features satisfy usability, functionality, and satisfaction. The following section will summarise the project's conclusion and the critical points in the research and design process.



According to the research findings, we found that migrated adult children from Hong Kong confront the critical challenge of the family relationship caused by geographical distance and time differences. They commit to meeting familial obligations such as maintaining transnational family relationships and caring for left-behind parents' routines and emotional support. 

However, they find that the existing application cannot fully fulfil their needs.
Keep & Touch is a Transnational Family Relationship Management ICT Platform that aims to assist migrated adult children in keeping in with their parents and members and getting in touch with each other. The application platform integrates different features such as linking with WhatsApp to help family members connect habitually, combining management tools to assist adult children in caring for their families, and conjoining with external support organisations to aid left-behind parents. 

In addition, our artificial intelligence assistant encourages children and parents to keep in touch and increases the frequency of communication in which family members engage. 

We believe that proper communication technology and managing family relationships attentively can help migrated children and left-behind parents overcome the transnational challenge. Furthermore, Keep & Touch is an open-source platform for different partners to improve relationships together, not limited to transnational families. This platform's attribute allows further development of various designs with different collaborations.



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