By: Jennifer Tai
Today we visited the Alishan Senior Home in Jinan. I was quite excited to finally have the opportunity to interact with the elderly in China, which has a growing need for long term care for their aging population.
We learned about the history of the Alishan sisters who actually originated from Jinan but later moved to Taiwan, where they began their journey to help the needy. After opening up a few other care centres and hospitals, they finally came back to Jinan to take care of the elderly in their home town. Their motto states that wherever people need them, they will be there. It also felt very authentic because a few of the workers, including the manager of the facility, were actually from Alishan. They were very sincere and genuine, and we could see how passionate they were about their jobs.
We put on a performance for everyone at the facility singing two songs by Teresa Teng: 甜蜜蜜 and 高山青 — two classics that we hoped the residents there would enjoy. Afterwards we played a game where we had to say our Chinese names and give each of the seniors a pen as a little token to serve as a memory of this special day. Unfortunately, due to a government decision to rebuild in the area, a few of the seniors have already been relocated to other long term care centres around the country, so they didn’t have that many residents at the facility. We had a chance to visit a few rooms that were very spacious and we could see how they carefully designed each room to suit the needs of the residents.
Since we came with Mon Sheong Foundation, it was very special to explore and learn about how long term care centres operate in China and compare that with our facilities in Canada.