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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Rest homes see holiday changes

By Wang Qingyun  (China Daily)

10:42, February 01, 2012

NANCHANG - As more elderly people in Nanchang, the capital of East China's Jiangxi province, turn to rest homes for better care, the tradition of Lunar New Year celebrations at family get-togethers is beginning to change.

Zang Jianyuan, 61, head nurse at the Senior Care Center of Nanchang for four years, recalls how residents celebrated the holiday in recent years.

"Relatives of some of the older people would pick them up for a holiday meal together and bring them back by evening. I stood by the gate, watching cars arriving one after another and receiving the older people one by one as they returned.

"Some didn't go out, too. They had family visit them. The home made them dinners to celebrate the Lunar New Year."

Shao Jianying, 49, is one of those who has a traditional get-together with parents outside the rest home.

On Jan 25, the third day of the Year of the Dragon, he brought his mother back to the Social Welfare Home of Donghu District after she spent three days with the family celebrating the Spring Festival.

The 87-year-old mother of four, surnamed Hu, who has lived in the home for eight years, said that her children have often visited her, but that she prefers to live at the rest home. "My children have to go to work. I feel alone staying with them. But here I can visit and spend time with my fellow residents."

Some people choose not to take part in the traditional family reunion.

Su Lingen, 70, who has lived in the welfare home for nearly a year, turned down his family's invitation to celebrate the New Year with them.

"I spent Lunar New Year's Day here, and I enjoyed myself," said Su, a father of three. "My children invited me to stay with them for Spring Festival, but I refused. The rest home gave us a big meal for the celebration, and I had a great time. What's the point of having a New Year's dinner at home and then being sent back?"

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