Built in September 2009, XinZhuang Town Elderly Care Center is a fairly new facility with the capacity of 600 residents. A year later, they have 260 elderly living there with 141 full time staff including 88 care givers. The average age of the residents is 85 years old, among them, approximately 50 people is capable of taking full care of themselves while the rest of them need different levels of support and assitance from the care givers.
With full financial support from the local government, the hardware of the care center is quite outstanding. They have a variety of rooms equipped with different entertainment facility including a big indoor cinema. We can also say that the elderly there live comfortably and their basic needs are very well taken care of. The only missing part is the quality of their emotional and entertainment life. From interviewing with the administrative people and elderly there, we get to know that most of them have a fairly empty life without a clear purpose apart from the daily routine. Loneliness, boredom and depression are the common issues there. That being said, the current situation leaves a big space for social volunteer work to bring some joy, laughter and happiness into the care center since we all agree that life is more than just meeting the basic survival needs. A long term stable volunteer program and a group of dedicated volunteers are badly needed there to brighten the days of elderly.
In the last quarter of 2010, HandsOn Shanghai and MinHang District Government started cooperation to promote the volunteerism and we have launched our first elderly program in October 2010. It has became a regular activity happening on a biweekly basis and has made a difference. Support is still greatly needed in order to make a greater impact!