It was colder than usual on 22 January 2018 afternoon. Ms Chau Ngan-ching, Social Service Supervisor of China Development Department of The Salvation Army and I paid home visits in Tongxin Village, Dingyuan Township, Zitong County.
We saw an elderly person was sitting by the fire pan, lighting a fire. When we greeted him, he just took a glance at us and did not say a word.
This old man was called Luo Daijun, aged 77, with no children around him. Years ago, Luo’s wife passed away. Not long after, he was diagnosed with brain hemorrhage, as a result he suffered from hemiplegia. After being discharged from the hospital, Luo shut himself off at home and stopped talking to people.
Ms Chau asked the village head what the old man did for a living when he was young. When the village head started talking about the past, I noticed the glow in the old man’s eyes, who actually started listening to our conversation.
Ms Chau then started asking the old man, “Grandpa, now you are suffering from this illness, does it make you feel hard done by, that you’ve become useless or a burden to your family?” The old man nodded. Ms Chau provided the old man with some counselling. He started talking to us. By the time we left, he insisted on standing up and seeing us off at the road.
Right now, the old man’s physical condition has turned much better and no longer needs his family to take care of him. This incident has further assured me that when elders suffer from some illnesses, what they need is not pity nor giving. All they need is care from their relatives and friends, recognition from their fellow villagers, and psychological support.
Acting Senior Project Officer
The Salvation Army (Hong Kong) Sichuan Office