​Migrants set to become carers for the elderly

Author: Lu Feiran

A TOTAL of 1,000 migrant workers began a course on caring for elderly people yesterday, with the support of the Shanghai Charity Foundation and the Rotary Club of Shanghai. The club donated 350,000 yuan (US$50,000) to the foundation's training program.

Trainees will receive lessons on mental health, safety, and skin and mouth care. After graduating, they will work at local rest homes or take care of seniors who stay at home, said the foundation.

The club said it would support the program next year if it is successful this year.

Zhu Jue, a worker from Jiangsu Province, said she hoped for a better future by gaining more caring skills. "I've been in Shanghai for three years, but I failed to get a long-term job because I don't have any outstanding skills," she said.

The foundation said the program helped migrant workers keen to find a job and seniors who needed professional nurses - a win-win strategy.

Meanwhile, a community in Yangpu District is matching younger retired people with residents aged over 80.

About eight pairs of seniors are now helping each other as new "families" in Changbai Neighborhood Community. Those around 60 visit older residents to help them with housework and talk to them.

"What most seniors really want is someone who can spend some time with them, as they often feel lonely," said Zhang Hui, a neighborhood official. "Before, we recruited young people as volunteers to take care of the seniors, but there was a generation gap, so communication was difficult.

"Young volunteers often weren't willing to devote time to look after seniors. But elderly people really love having volunteers around."

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