Gansu nursing home volunteers care for locals

By Wu Jin
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 31, 2014
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Life seems desperate for those who have become senile, lonely and penniless. But the situation can be better if the elderly can have a home and people to care for them. Their hopes can be reignited and their dignity regained if they feel under the warmth of love.

With such a faith, 67-year-old He Xingmin started to work for the Central Nursing Home of Ganzhou District, Zhangye City, in northwestern China's Gansu Province, after he retired as a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

"I'm a TCM doctor, but most of the time in the nursing home, I work as a psychological consultant, chatting with the elderly and helping them not to worry so much about the trivial disputes which usually trouble them," he said.

Accommodating 164 senior residents, the nursing home is funded by the local government for over 2,000 elderly needy farmers in rural Ganzhou District. The home is the first phase of the project and more nursing centers are expected to be built to respond to the huge demand.

According to Fang Dejia, deputy director of the nursing home, it is not only the beds that the city lacks for the graying society but also caretakers. In his nursing home, the nurses have very heavy workloads. Each of them has to take care for at least 10 senior citizens. Therefore, a hand lent from a volunteer is precious.

He is not the only one who diagnoses and looks after the elderly farmers free of charge; young volunteers also come to inspire the elderly with the power of their youth.

"I started to come here in my summer vacation after my schoolmates in higher grades, who volunteered here last year, told me about it" said 21-year-old Qi Yaqian from local Hexi College. "I found the elderly people are very shy. They would rather plant vegetables in the farmland that the nursing home provides them than dance together. Even so, we still encourage them to do morning exercises, join in group dances and to chat with each other more often."

Considering the financial burden and the wishes of some of the elderly farmers, the nursing home has reclaimed a 26,667 square meter plot of farmland. It chooses some of the capable elderly residents to plant vegetables which can later be served as dishes on their dinner tables. For many farmers, the land helps them to regain their former lifestyle.

The graying society is becoming a major challenge in China with the country's new urbanization program. After their children have migrated to other cities and their houses have been demolished to make way for apartment communities, more and more elderly farmer-turned-city-dwellers, like the old farmers in Ganzhou, need help from society.

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