Two Christian Nursing Homes in Jiangsu

The elderly sing hymns to praise God in Bo’ai Home for the Elderly, under the leadership of Christian caregivers on May 21, 2021.
The elderly sing hymns to praise God in Bo’ai Home for the Elderly, under the leadership of Christian caregivers on May 21, 2021.
By Zhang MengyueJuly 7th, 2021

There are two nursing homes built and operated by churches in Qidong City, Jiangsu Province.

On May 21, I visited "Kuanxin Nursing Home"  in Yichang Village, Beixin Town, and the "Bo’ai (or Charity) Home for the Elderly" in Jinhai Town.

Founded by Beixin Church, Kuanxin Nursing Home is a social-oriented elderly care institution. Receiving contributions from believers, the church spent millions of yuan in 2010 to purchase the land occupied by an abandoned factory building on the north side of the church. Carrying out simple maintenance on the basis of the factory building, they built the original nursing home.

The nursing home was officially opened in February 2011, with 28 houses and 93 beds. As the number of elderly residents gradually increased, an expansion plan was put on the agenda.

The nursing home began to build multi-functional residential buildings for the elderly, which passed the completion acceptance inspection and was officially put into use the following year.

At present, the hospital has a total of 220 beds and complete supporting facilities such as a canteen, an infirmary, and an activity room, with the qualifications of the license up to standard.

In the afternoon, I arrived at another nursing home.

At the end of 2003, under the cooperation of believers from Qidong and Jinhai Church in Qidong, Nantong, Jiangsu Province, the "Bo’ai Home for the Elderly" was completed and officially put into operation, becoming the first local charity organization for social care for the elderly founded by the church.

"Oh! Welcome!", an old woman with a northeastern accent came to greet us with the help of volunteer female Christians. "I am happy to sing here every day to praise Jesus. I believe in Jesus, who is the best!"

The new building of the nursing home was completed in 2017. At present, with the existing beds, the home has 220 beds for the elderly, according to Pastor Zhang from the charity department of Qidong TSPM (Three-Self Patriotic Movement).

"Since our nursing home is open to all the elderly, we will serve them equally and wholeheartedly, regardless of whether they are Christians or not", Pastor Zhang said.

For years, the home has paid special attention to hospice care for the elderly. Many elderly people who were about to come to the end of life achieved the final transformation of their lives.

There was an old couple from Shanghai. The lady lost a leg due to illness, while the man was already paralyzed in bed and unable to move. What was even more unfortunate was that both of them suffered from cancer, and their only son was too busy to care for them all the time. Many nursing homes dared not accept them due to their serious illness.

However, their family members found the Bo’ai Home for the Elderly. The staff workers admitted the two elderly people to the nursing home, willing to accompany them through the last journey of their lives. Under special care, their physical and mental outlook gradually improved. Many old believers living in the home often went to their rooms to chat with them, sing hymns, and pray for them. The old couple, who had been determined by the doctor to live for less than a few months, happily lived there for more than two years, with the grace of God and others’ company.

One female believer surnamed Yuan has served there for 18 years. She said that her monthly living allowance increased from 300 yuan at the beginning of 2004 to 500 yuan, and then 800 yuan. It has risen to around 2200 yuan in the past two years.

Despite the difficulties, many caregivers like Yuan, who are not afraid of hardship or tiredness, have served in the home for years. Today, more than 50% of the employees have worked there for more than ten years.

"We are all here to serve in the love and faith of Christ. No matter what the circumstances are, we have not changed in our mental state, psychological state, or willingness to serve," she added. 

According to China’s seventh national census in 2020, the current population aged 60 years and above in China is 264.02 million, including 190.64 million people aged 65 and over. Nearly 100 million elderly people suffer from one or more chronic diseases, and more than 10 million have long-term care needs.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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