The house is a bit old, built about ten years ago, three floors, the exterior wall has not been painted for a long time, by the rain and the sun, the wall skin peeling off, revealing the gray and black walls. 7 years ago, someone rented the house, opened a nursing home, named “Old Neighborhood The name is “Old Neighborhood”. The roof of the building was originally hung with the words “senior citizen apartment”. The word “old” fell off at some point, and the other three words became a bit abrupt.
The old people’s apartment is located in downtown Maanshan, Anhui Province. The oldest of them are 90 years old, and they don’t live for long. Most of the rest of them are 70 or 80 years old, like withered plants, lying on wooden beds all day long, watching the light of day fade from the first light to the end of the day. Taking care of them is also a group of old people, one immediately 70 years old, one 75 years old, cooking aunt 60 years old, and a 70-year-old mute handyman.
If it weren’t for “that kind of thing”, the house and the old people inside would have remained silent, like mushrooms growing in a dark, damp corner that no one cares about.
The red cloth tape
When a person gets old enough to start tossing people around, it’s usually time. That’s what they say in nursing homes.201 That’s how old Sun ended up.
The night before he died, Old Sun crawled out of his wooden bed again, dragging his shriveled legs and shouting nonsense. He accidentally bumped the bedside table next to him, bringing a bruise to the corner of his eye.
Old Sun is 86 years old and had a fever a week ago. After the doctor came and gave him a drip, his symptoms subsided, but he seemed more confused. He often crawled to the ground with his hands, chanting “I want to find my partner”. His partner passed away more than 20 years ago.
Caregiver Liu Zhihui skillfully carried Sun back to bed, gave him some medicine, and told him to stop talking nonsense.
Old Sun was sent to the nursing home by his son and has been living here for almost a year. He was a veteran of the anti-American war, and after his discharge, he joined a state-run factory and retired as a cadre. Sun had injured his meniscus in the army, and as he grew older, he became more and more reluctant to get out of bed and walk, eventually losing his mobility due to muscle atrophy as he was bedridden for a long time. He has always had constipation, and it gets worse after being bedridden for a long time. He only relieves his bowels once every ten days, and when it gets bad, he needs help to pick it up by hand.
“It’s hard, really hard. “Old Sun’s only son still remembers that in his father’s house, yellow-brown feces was smeared on the beds and walls, used dishes were piled up in the sink, and rats and cockroaches could be seen. He was also 60 years old and really didn’t have the energy, so sending his father to a nursing home became the best option.
The Old Neighborhood Home for the Elderly, which charges 2,100 yuan a month, is very close to his neighborhood, just across the street. When he was free, he went to see his father with a good meal and freshly made juice, and gave his caregiver Liu Zhihui 200 yuan to make them work harder. When he received the call about his father’s accident, he was traveling abroad with his old classmates.
In those days, the dean handed Liu Zhihui, old Sun these days some abnormal, to often go to see him. The hallway surveillance shows that on the day of the accident, from 2 a.m., Liu Zhihui hardly rested, going in and out of various rooms on the second floor to calm the noisy elderly people at night.
Liu Zhihui is 70 years old and came to the apartment ten days before Sun. He has high blood pressure, heart disease, a cholecystectomy and poor eyesight. He was diagnosed with glaucoma two years ago and can barely see in one eye and can only see blurry in the other. He wants to save a pension while he can still move.
In the summer of 2019, Liu Zhihui was introduced to a nursing home in the city that was looking for 24-hour caregivers, including food and accommodation, to serve the elderly with meals, clothes and washing, and to help the elderly who cannot take care of themselves turn over and clean up their bowels, for a monthly salary of about 3,000 yuan. In a small city where the average wage is more than 5,000 yuan, this is probably the best job a 70-year-old man can get, after all, even sanitation workers are required to be under 65 years old.
Although Liu Zhihui is a little older, he still has a lot of strength left. The director of the hospital is quite satisfied with him, “old Liu can do to move grin, strong, hold the elderly to the bath, turn over, all can do. The company’s main business is to provide a wide range of products and services to the public.
On September 26, 2020, at 10:42 a.m., Lao Sun tried to climb out of bed again, and Liu Zhihui, who had been up almost all night, passed by the room and saw it, pointing at him and saying, “If you talk nonsense again, I’ll chain you up. “And he did.
Liu Zhihui picked up a rope of about 3 meters on the table, red, usually used to pull banners. He had just used this rope in the morning to fix old Sun, who couldn’t sit still, in his wheelchair and make his bed. Liu Zhihui skillfully tied the left and right ends of the rope to the guardrail on the side of the bed, wrapped it around Lao Sun’s armpits and chest, and fixed him to the bed.
At 10:52 and 11:21, Liu Zhihui returned to the room twice to check on Lao Sun’s condition. There was no abnormality, and the old man was lying quietly on the bed, as if he was asleep. On the third floor, an old lady pooped and urinated in her pants, and Liu Zhihui went up to help. The third time he went back to his room to check on Lao Sun was 12:22 p.m., an hour in between.
Old Sun was already sitting on the edge of the bed, waving his hands in mid-air and struggling, and the red cloth slipped up to his neck.
Liu Zhihui rushed forward to untie the rope and hold Lao Sun back to the bed, Lao Sun’s eyes rolled upwards. Liu Zhihui later said in a criminal investigation statement, “I was panicking, I used my hand to close his eyes, and then went out to call for someone. After the people came, found that the person had died. “The forensic pathologist later identified the cause of death of old Sun is “mechanical asphyxiation caused by neck pressure death “.
The first floor of the rice burner aunt still remember the day Liu Zhihui was arrested, several police cars were crowded across the car wash space. Neighbors in the surrounding neighborhood and no live couriers scattered around to see the action. She was most impressed by a middle-aged lady in her 40s, Liu Zhihui’s daughter, who rushed over after receiving a phone call from the dean and suddenly let out a loud cry like a small child when the old Liu got into the police car.
The people in the nursing home only vaguely knew that Liu Zhihui had two children. But the children do what work, and how the relationship with him, nothing is known. Although he had worked with Liu Zhihui for almost a year, Chen, the caregiver, did not know him well either. They do not have time to chat, every day is bored to work. Chen said, he is good at heart, overall is a good person.
Old Chen is the day of the incident, looking for Liu Zhihui to help a piece of cleaning up the elderly feces and urine of the caregiver. She is 75 years old, wrinkles and age spots along the years crawled all over her face.
Chen is short and thin, it is difficult to pick up a paralyzed old man alone, while Liu Zhihui is strong and always happy to help her, the two of them each put an arm around the old man to carry him to the wheelchair. Liu Zhihui has a cheerful personality and loves to joke around, often teasing the rice cooker aunt on the first floor for putting too much salt in. It was a rare moment of relaxation in the day. More than a year has passed since the “old Liu incident”, but the rice cooker aunt still remembers his laughter, short, “haha” a few times. “Haha” a few sounds stacked together, very loud.
Someone told the police that Liu Zhi will yell at the elderly who do not listen. Old Chen felt a little wrong to say so, sometimes do not yell really can not, “old old are becoming children. The company’s main business is to provide a wide range of products and services to the public. Old Chen persuaded a while, to no avail, and raised his voice a few sentences, and finally had to give up, hands pinched the old man just used plastic bucket out to clean. The smell is almost disgusting. Old Chen frowned, “dirty! This work is dirty! “
If not to save a pension money, no one would want to become a caregiver in their 70s. When her partner died two years ago, Chen came here. She has never studied, but just recently learned the words “morning, noon and night” by virtue of the label on the medicine box, and raised her two sons purely on the strength of her farming when she was young. The sons are now working in Jiangsu, she was also advised to stop doing it, go home to retire, she did not listen.
Old Chen has its own concerns, “the son called you to go, you to which home? She was reluctant to say more. Besides, her sons have to worry about the next generation, and several of her grandchildren are in their twenties, “The male saeki have to get married and buy a house, right? You don’t work yourself without money, but you have to ask your sons and daughters-in-law for money, how much can they give? “
Old Chen can only receive a monthly pension of about 100 yuan, “100 yuan can do what? To the supermarket to buy paper, to buy rice, then gone. “
Some scholars study statistics, urban elderly people rely on pensions as a source of livelihood is 71.93%, the proportion of rural elderly only 17.22%. These institutional contexts help us understand why the paradoxical scenario of rural seniors in their 60s taking care of urban seniors in their 70s and 80s occurs in nursing homes,” Dr. Wu Xinyue, a sociologist at Tunghai University, once wrote in his fieldwork report. “
Lao Chen and Liu Zhihui are considered fellow villagers, both from nearby Dangtu County. The straight-line distance from Dangtu County to downtown Maanshan is only 20 kilometers, but separated by a tributary of the Yangtze River, for a long time, people are stuck in the village, farming for a living, May and June harvest wheat, followed by corn and rape. Later, the Maanshan Bridge connected the countryside and the city, and once the wheat was harvested in June, Liu Zhihui went to the city for a short job during the rare two or three months of farming time.
More than a decade ago, he went to Beijing, moving bricks on construction sites, selling breakfast stalls. As he grew older, the city didn’t want him, so he had to return to his hometown again to help his son, Liu Shuai, with his children, and also in farming, but the income from the land could only cover daily expenses. When his grandson grew up to the age of kindergarten, Liu Zhihui would plan to find a job again.
Liu Shuai guessed that his father went out to work as a caregiver perhaps because of guilt and was too embarrassed to ask his two children to give him a pension. “He is hurtful to our family. ” Liu Shuai said. More than two decades ago, Liu Zhihui fell in love with a woman from the next village, for which Liu Shuai’s mother divorced him and raised her two children alone. But Liu Zhihui’s second relationship did not last long, and soon moved back into the bungalow built by his own family.
The problems that aging brought to Liu Zhihui could not be solved by farming alone. He would occasionally call Liu Shuai, and the only times he contacted him, he told his son that he could not see, or that his heart was not feeling well. The only times he called Liu Shuai, he told his son that his eyes seemed to be blind, or that his heart was not feeling well, and that going to the hospital would cost him money, so he had to ask for help. “Anyway, every time you call, there is nothing good. “Liu Shuai silent for a while,” we help him is also a limit. “
In a way, the Old Neighborhood Elderly Residence is like a shelter for the elderly like Chen and Liu Zhihui who have nowhere else to turn, but also for the elderly who are on their last journey in life, either suffering from a troublesome disease, or their children are too busy, there are also widows and orphans who are sent to the community when they are identified, the causes may be different, but the final destination is the same.
The apartment is poorly oriented, and when you go up to the second and third floors, the corridors are dark and the rooms are only dimly lit, so for most of the day, the elderly are trapped in a world of obscurity with nothing to do. When strangers walked by, they did not bother to raise their eyes, silent as the decorative paintings on the walls. Sandalwood incense is burned in the corners of the corridor, but it is still hard to get rid of a complex odor, the smell of dander and grease from the old people’s slowed metabolism; the mixed smell of urine and feces that cannot be completely cleaned even with diligent cleaning; and the smell of various medicines, including pills for Parkinson’s disease, flushes to control diabetes, and the essential blood pressure medicine.
When Liu Zhihui worked here, he was exclusively responsible for the living and living of the elderly on the second floor, while Lao Chen was responsible for the third floor. Chen lives in the first room on the left-hand side of the third floor, and his roommate is an 82-year-old man with Parkinson’s disease. At this time, the old man is slowly, a little dragging steps to go outside, Chen asked her good-naturedly and amusingly, “where are you going eh? Chen said the old man always runs outside, but no one knows where she really wants to go.
There are currently 16 elderly people living in the apartment, and if it is fully occupied, it can accommodate about 30 elderly people. Chen and Liu Zhihui are each responsible for taking care of about ten elderly people. The director also sometimes participates in the care work, and the 70-year-old mute handyman is responsible for cleaning, bringing hot water to each elderly person, and sometimes helping to move those who cannot take care of themselves. If she is too busy, the director will ask her relatives to be daytime caregivers for a while, but most of the work falls on Liu Zhihui and Lao Chen.
At 3 a.m. every day, the two take turns on duty, boiling millet porridge and mixing the nursing home’s own pickled cucumber sticks. At five o’clock, the elderly gradually wake up, the two fill the basin in each room with hot water, and those who can take care of themselves wipe their faces and wash themselves, while those who cannot take care of themselves wait for Liu Zhihui or Chen to help them change into new diapers.
After breakfast, Liu Zhihui puts some of the elderly in wheelchairs and pushes them to the third floor balcony for sunbathing. He has to clean all the rooms, arrange the bedding, wash the soiled clothes and sheets of the elderly, and work until 11:00 p.m., when he starts feeding lunch to the elderly who cannot move. At 3 p.m., he has to wipe and change the diapers of the elderly once again. At night, Liu Zhihui lives in an empty bed on the second floor and has to get up every two to three hours to check the room at night.
Day after day, he was going to spend his old age in this way.
No other choice
Before sending his father into the old neighborhood, Sun’s son visited several nursing homes in Maanshan, most of which charge about 2,000 yuan, including a high-end nursing home, the monthly fee is 7,000 yuan, the environment is good, surrounded by green trees. Sun Bin thought about it and felt that his father could not move, and then the good scenery and public space is not very meaningful to him, “he just needs a bed, and then someone to help him solve the problem of defecation, is actually enough. “
In a small fourth-tier city, maintaining the basic survival of the elderly is the choice of most families. And such a demand predestines most nursing homes to recruit only low-priced caregivers. “Are there young people to nursing homes? ” asks Zhao Yinglian, 55, rhetorically. She is the head of the Old Neighborhood Elderly Residence, slightly fat, with short, curly brown hair, and always looks a little tired and bored.
Zhao Yinglian has thought about raising the price, charging a few hundred dollars more per bed, so that she can hire two more caregivers to take care of the elderly in a more timely manner. However, the children of the elderly mentioned, basically no one agreed, “you know, only the old to the young to spend money, have not seen how much the young to the old to spend money. Her face showed an insightful expression.
Zhao Yinglian has encountered a dispute before. In 2018, an elderly man who could not take care of himself due to cerebral infarction was sent in at a cost of 1,600 yuan per month. Three months later, the old man was found by his son to have bedsores, many of which ulcerated deep into his muscles, and he died after being taken home for more than half a month. In that accident, the old man’s son demanded 300,000 yuan in compensation. This time, the old man’s son proposed a compensation amount of more than 900,000 yuan in a civil lawsuit.
Talking about the compensation, Zhao Yinglian angrily beat the table, “to be awarded (lose), I will pay this nursing home to him! I do not mention any other requirements, let him do his own year, to see if he can hold up! “Finished, she stroked a handful of curly hair in front of her forehead, a disheveled down.
People in the senior care industry in Maanshan have more or less heard of the accident. The company’s main business is to provide a wide range of services and services to the elderly. Later on, the bigger it got, the two stores became a three-story high nursing home.
Zhu Kezhi has some sympathy for the old neighborhood, she has not encountered similar disputes, but when she did, there seems to be no better solution. No young people want to do this,” said Zhu Kezhi. She sometimes attends meetings held by the Civil Affairs Bureau together with the directors of other nursing homes, and when they communicate, they find that “there are no young caregivers. “
Zhu Kezhi’s nursing home has only three caregivers, the youngest is 56 years old, the oldest is more than 70 years old, each in charge of a floor, a floor of about ten elderly people.
Zhu Kezhi said that the Civil Affairs Bureau requires them to have one caregiver for every three elderly people who can’t take care of themselves, and one caregiver for every ten elderly people who can take care of themselves. In her opinion, this requirement is completely impossible to achieve.
Her nursing home also charges around 2,000 yuan, but she spreads out the black-covered ledger, which shows the cost of each elderly person’s bed, and almost all of them cost less than that amount, mostly around 1,500 yuan. In nursing homes, the fees for elderly people who cannot take care of themselves are usually higher than 2,000 yuan because they need extra care from caregivers. Elderly people who can basically take care of themselves are charged accordingly lower. “Many elderly people need help from caregivers for bathing and diaper changing, but their children just insist that they can take care of themselves completely. “Most of the time, it is also impossible to refuse, “people return the price you do not charge, he will go elsewhere, others more than 1,000 will be charged. “
Whenever Zhu Kezhi attended a meeting, he always heard the director of a high-grade nursing home introduce the combination of medical and health care in his own institution, with complete facilities and a dozen caregivers alone. In contrast, the cost of this institution has also doubled. Zhu Kezhi did not believe the director’s words, “You hear people talk about how many old people she has, it’s all false. I’ll tell you, children which are willing to give you money, they are willing to pay the least amount of money, to eat well, live well, but also you take good care of. “Some time ago, Zhu Ke Zhi heard that the director of the high-end nursing home to transfer the nursing home, because the occupancy rate is too low, the vacancy rate is too high, the income can not cover the expenses.
Not only in Ma’anshan, about ten years ago, local media in third and fourth-tier cities began to report that nursing homes could not recruit young caregivers, and it was quite common for one group of elderly people to serve another group of elderly people. Almost all of these elderly caregivers were farmers when they were young, or earned their living by working, without much knowledge or professional care training.
The 72-year-old Lao Liu had a brain infarction two years ago, but was rescued in time and did not suffer any sequelae. His hair is completely white, but his 1.8m height has not shrunk, and he happily plays the song “Look at the liberation of the world’s toiling masses” over and over again on the Apple phone his son bought for him.
Lao Liu’s son works in Nanjing, and in his story, his son is making good money, earning 20,000 to 30,000 a month. If asked why he didn’t move in with his son, he would laugh and say, “I’ll tell you a story,” about a 30-year old neighbor of Lao Liu’s. He said to me one day, “Lao Liu, my family bought a big house, and the three generations of grandchildren are going to live together. After more than two months, back again, the first sentence said, everywhere let the small, are not able to engage, three generations can not get together. The second sentence said that fortunately the old house was not sold, sold there is no way back. After hearing this, I thought to myself that I don’t want to live with my children either. “
Old Liu is a retired employee of an enterprise of Maanshan Iron and Steel Group, receiving a monthly retirement salary of 3,000 yuan. After the cerebral infarction, he wanted to find someone to take care of himself, but can not afford a nanny, can only go to the nursing home. Old Liu looked around on his own and picked the nursing home opened by Zhu Kezhi, paying a monthly bed fee of 1,900 yuan, packed up the family’s clothes and bedding, and moved in with the medicine.
“Family or social, it is a very complex thing. “After the story is told, old Liu smiling down a summary.
The corner of silence
In April this year, Liu Shuai met Liu Zhihui at the trial site, which was the first time he saw his father after the incident.
Liu Zhihui spent his 70th birthday in the detention center, he was thinner than before, but his spirit was okay. Before the trial he seems to have glanced at the gallery, Liu Shuai did not see the real. In court, Liu Zhihui was charged with the crime of negligence causing death and was eventually sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.
The nursing home to replace Liu Zhihui is the new Tao caregiver, 55 years old, less than half a year, already planning to resign, “the wage is too low. She misses her previous job as a caregiver in Guangzhou, where the nursing home conditions were good and each elderly person had a single room with a separate bathroom instead of a simple plastic toilet placed at the bedside. The salary was also high, she got 4,500 yuan a month. She is the oldest caregiver in Guangzhou, and back in Maanshan, she is the youngest.
At the age of 48, she and her husband took out all their savings and gave their son enough money for the bride price. The year before last, she brought her granddaughter to 3 years old before she had the time to go out and earn money as a caregiver, but the wages she earned had to be tight first for the younger ones, “the granddaughter will soon be going to school. “She does not know the former caregiver here, Liu Zhihui, and does not care about this tragedy that happened to him.
Old Chen is also planning to leave, she wants to go back home to the countryside and may take the last ride of her life in the old house. Lao Chen is not afraid of death, but after watching too many immobile elderly people in nursing homes, she is afraid that she will one day become that way: lying down all day, not being able to walk freely, her only remaining task every day is to wait for the caregiver to feed her boiled-down food. Every day’s rest time, she always go around the first floor hall, more than two laps, “to exercise more, the body can move is good. “
Chen said she definitely does not want to live to 90 years old, because the probability of that is a sickly age, can only lie in bed. She does not want to live in a nursing home, but really can not move when she has no choice, “can only look at the son’s conscience. “To live to 80 years old, she is not much interested, “have to see, see if you can still move. “
Parting is the norm in nursing homes, with the elderly leaving and regrouping here. Zhu Kezhi’s nursing home also has two caregivers in their 70s to leave. One is a 76-year-old man on the second floor with bad legs, who shrinks in his room every day and trembles to put plasters on himself. The old man came to work as a caregiver to help his son pay off his gambling debts. But he can’t do it anymore, he doesn’t clean the hallway and doesn’t bring hot water to the old people. Zhu Kezhi has already found a replacement for his caregiver, a 60-year-old man.
The other is a 73-year-old old guard, with a thinning head, hunched over, and like a dried orange. Strictly speaking, the old guard is not Zhu Kezhi’s employee. The room on the first floor directly across from the front door houses an 88-year-old veteran of the anti-American war. A few years ago, he had a cerebral infarction and was paralyzed in bed and could no longer get up, and was sent to a nursing home by his family. Lao Wei is a carer specially hired by the old man’s family, with a monthly salary of 3,000 yuan.
Recently, the old man’s 78-year-old companion is calculating the dismissal of the old guard. More than two months ago, the old guard filled a hot water bag on the bed, directto hold the old man onto the hot water bag, immediately gave the old man’s buttocks scalded two large blisters. The old lady found the wounds when she came to visit and immediately made the decision to move to the nursing home to take close care of the old man, while looking for a new caregiver.
She was not at all satisfied with the performance of the old guard, “stupid, did not read a book, said some requirements he always do not understand. “The old lady lowered her voice and complained. She also disliked the old guard’s age, his hands and feet are not good, and no strength, every time to help the old man turn over, the old guard alone can not do, must be her together with the cooperation. She recently looked at a 58-year-old male caregiver who was healthy and did not have high blood pressure. The old lady took a look at the old guard who was cleaning and lowered her voice, “When the new one comes, he will be replaced. “
Old Wei may or may not know that he is about to be fired. Than the bleak future, the old guard is more willing to talk about the memory of the glittering past. He said he had run through seven provinces in the country, talking about the big cities outside, his voice was plucked up, his eyebrows seemed to fly up. He has been to Yiwu and Dongguan, famous for small commodities, where he worked as a porter; he has been to Kunshan and Shanghai, where there are many factories, and was a security guard nestled at the gate; he was a screw on the scaffolding when Guangzhou’s new Baiyun Airport was being built. “I ran a lot of places, suffered a lot of hardships, have seen the world. “Old Wei’s tone is tinged with pride.
By the time he was about 65, construction sites and factories no longer accepted him, and he went back home to the countryside. When he was young, his family was poor, and the family composition was not good, Old Wei never married and had no children in his life. Most of his life working outside, but he has no savings, “you talk about this on the bitter. “Old Wei’s eyebrows droop, turned to the 88-year-old fed a spoonful of rice mixed with broth, the old man did not eat, drops of saliva, pulled into a long silver arc. Old guard and patiently fed a few times, see the old man swallowed before continuing, “We do small jobs, we do not earn much money. “The pair of somewhat cloudy eyes outside the mask flooded with tears.
The old guard will suddenly self-deprecatingly said, can not do, after this year to do not do. But this may not be easy to achieve, two years ago, the old guard’s only sister had a car accident, he gave his sister all the money saved. The odds are that Old Guard will enter yet another nursing home and continue to care for older people who are no older than him or younger than him. He plans to move into a nursing home when he can no longer move. His body is getting heavier and heavier from aging. He hasn’t saved enough to pay for a bed for 2,000 yuan a month.
(People in the article are pseudonyms)