Family reunion joy as senior home visits resume

Yang Yang
Relatives reunited with elderly family members at the Songjiang Social Welfare Institute at 9am on March 1 when visits to senior homes in Shanghai resumed.
Yang Yang

Relatives reunited with elderly family members at the Songjiang Social Welfare Institute at 9am on March 1 when visits to senior homes in Shanghai resumed after the COVID-19 pandemic wanes.

Due to control and prevention measures, senior homes in Songjiang closed and for more than a month, residents maintained contact with their family through video calls or by phone, assisted by staff members at the institute.

But the relatives still profoundly missed their elders.

Yao, whose mother lives at the institute, was one of the first batch of 30 relatives to visit.

“During the Chinese New Year holiday, the social welfare institute arranged all kinds of activities. The head nurse videotaped and took pictures of my mother. She spent the holiday in high spirits. In spite of this, I still wanted to see her in person,” Yao said

A staff member at the institute said: “From February 28 till today, relatives of more than 100 elders phoned to inquire or make an appointment to visit.”

Strict anti-pandemic measures are still in place. Relatives have to show their health codes and travel history, have a normal temperature and register before they are allowed in.

“Only immediate family members and custodians of the elders are allowed to see them,” said Fan Ling, chief of the institute’s social worker department.

Fifteen quotas are distributed daily for relatives to visit the institute during 9am-10am or 2pm-3pm. Each relative can visit just once a week.

“Though we didn’t feel lonely as the senior home arranged all kinds of activities for us, we still feel happy since now our relatives are allowed to see us,” said Shi Jinxing, a senior home resident.

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