An un­event­ful life in a home from home

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHANG XIAOMIN in Dalian, Liaon­ing zhangx­i­aomin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.”

ZHANG XIAOMIN / CHINA DAILY

Yu Guifen with her great-grand­daugh­ter at a nurs­ing home in Dalian, Liaon­ing prov­ince.

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