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Seniors given festival-time cold shoulder
2007-09-26 02:05:00 Shanghai Daily

SHANGHAI, Sept. 26 -- CHINA'S Mid-Autumn Festival fell on yesterday but what is supposed to be a time of joy was tinged with sadness for many of the city's senior citizens.

Only about a third of seniors in rest homes shared supper with their children, according to the Shanghai No. 1 Social Welfare Institution.

"There are 190 seniors living in our rest home but only 70 of their children will come here to take them home or to restaurants," said an official at the institution surnamed Ye.

"But some of the children will bring the meals here to share with their parents."

Many seniors stay in the rest home and eat alone when family members usually unite and share mooncakes.

Ye said more young people now prefer to celebrate foreign festivals.

"Many seniors miss their children very much especially in the Mid-Autumn Festival," Ye said.

The traditional festival, second most important only after Spring Festival, is not a public holiday, making it difficult for working people to bring seniors back home to have a family reunion dinner.

"Seniors are usually sensitive," she said. "They won't let on but they feel very sad, and go to sleep very early on night of the festival."

"We are accustomed to the life here and would feel uneasy at home," said one of the seniors living in the rest home surnamed Dong. "We are taken care of by the nursing staff the whole day, which we could not enjoy at home."

Website www.Zhaopin.com conducted an online survey before the Mid-Autumn Festival, which found more than half of 5,000 white-collar respondents would only telephone elderly family members or send mooncakes.

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