China today

Energetic elders impressive

2017-10-10 07:30:00 (Beijing Time)         Chinadaily.com.cn

0

I thought nursing homes were always filled with elders with gray-white hair and wrinkled faces who walk with a stagger and wear plain clothes with no bright colors. But my mind changed after I arrived at Sijiqing Nursing Home in Beijing's Haidian district.

Instead, many of the residents displayed confidence and elegance while walking and talking, and many looked much younger than their actual ages of more than 70 years old.

They worked in various sectors before retiring, such as at State-owned enterprises, research institutes or were primary school teachers, doctors or government officials. Some were admitted to the nursing home by their children, who could not look after them at home.

Their life is no less colorful than those of young people: They regularly organize learning or entertainment activities, such as reading books and newspapers together every morning in the hall, practicing calligraphy and traditional music instruments.

To my amazement, they even set up a fashion modeling team in 2014. The team performs for other retirees once a week and during festivals and holidays.

The team members, most more than 70 years old, bought new clothes under the guidance of Zhang Jin, 81, who coaches them.

Growing old and staying at a nursing home does not necessarily mean you have to stop trying anything new, she said.

Establishing the modeling team is a direct result of a visit by President Xi Jinping one morning in December 2013, team members told me.

Liu Jinwen, 74, a retired primary school teacher who, with dozens of other retirees that day, met with Xi, said the visit was totally unexpected and she was very excited.

As China's population is rapidly aging, the question of how to take care of the vast number of elders has been a great concern for the government and the public in recent years.

The nursing home has taken more measures following Xi's visit to improve services, such as cooperating with a nearby hospital.

Elders staying in this nursing home are lucky, and I think all of society will pay more attention to the welfare of elders in the future so more elders can live out a happy life.