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Party Time for Golden Oldies
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Authorities called on residents to do more for the city's elderly as a downtown music club threw open its doors to a group of fun-loving senior citizens.

On Tuesday, the Lotto club, on Yuyao Road, welcomed 10 seniors with an average age of 80 to its VIP area.

Wang Sailin (center), 87, and Wang Miaosi (right), 77, celebrate at a club. The club invited them and eight others from a seniors home in response to a city call to lend support to the elderly.   

The club's management decided to throw the party in response to calls from the local government, who encouraged more people to look out for one of the city's most vulnerable groups.

"I am too old to go out now," said 87-year-old Wang Sailin, laughing as she bit into a piece of celebratory cake. "I'm so happy about the lovely event. We are so grateful."

The party came as a surprise to other customers in the club, but everyone soon joined in singing as staff wheeled in a candle-laden cake.

"Not only the old people, but I myself, was excited to be invited to the party," said Bai Rong, director of the Pudong seniors home. "We have never been to such a place before.

"About 90 percent of the 170 old people living in our facility need 24-hour nursing, spending most of their time in bed. Many of them suffer from Alzeimer's disease," said Bai.

The Shanghai Office to Promote Spiritual and Ethical Progress bridged the senior's home and the club for the event.

"We have about 50,000 to 60,000 volunteers in the city who spend their spare time with the seniors in old people's homes, chatting with them or singing and doing cleaning for them," said Zhou Min, a coordinator with the office. "We still need more people to look after lonely seniors."

The city faces an aging problem now and in the near future.

There were 2.66 million people aged 60 or above, accounting for 19.58 percent of the population, in December 2005. That figure is expected to rise to 33 percent in 2020, officials said. The report also said the one-child policy would put pressure on the city's youth, who will be expected to look after elderly relatives.

(Shanghai Daily November 23, 2006)

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