An uneventful life in a home from home
Every time her caregivers attempt to change Yu Guifen’s clothes, the 86-year-old resists desperately, like a child trying to stop her favorite toy from being taken away.
Yu, who has Alzheimer’s disease, lives at the Guilin Nursing Home for the Aged in Dalian, a city in the northeastern province of Liaoning.
“Because she suffers from memory loss, maybe the clothes carry current memories that she doesn’t want to forget,” said a care worker surnamed Li.
Yu has lived in a private room with separate bathroom facilities at the home for about three years. She pays about 5,000 yuan ($750) a month for her room and services, and every day, care workers help her with activities such as eating and drinking, visiting the washroom and going for walks in the yard.
“I guess she misses her own home. When we take her to the gate, she looks round to where the buses come from,” Li said.
Yu has two sons and a daughter. Several years ago, she gave her apartment to her second son, and was supposed to live with him and his family for the rest of her life. However, her son had a severe stroke and was unable to care for her.
Yu’s illnesses and other factors meant she couldn’t live with her other children either, so she entered the nursing home.
“This place is near the sea and has a good environment. The workers are nice. They provide 24-hour nursing services. We feel great relief,” said Sun Xiaoqi, Yu’s 62-yearold daughter, adding that her mother’s pension covers all her expenses at the nursing home.
Sun visits her mother every week, taking food and talking with her. “She can remember very little. Sometimes she needs to think for a while to decide whether I’m her daughter or daughter-inlaw. My father’s death brought her great distress, and then she had breast cancer, which required an operation,” she said.
“Since she lost her memory, she looks happier. Maybe it’s a form of self-protection.”
Yu Guifen with her great-granddaughter at a nursing home in Dalian, Liaoning province.