Grounded on core values of respect, love, and service to the elderly, the Xinyue Senior Center of Chongqing, China, promotes social work services for senior citizens and builds a harmonious living environment for them.
Granny Ma is 73. She and her husband both retired from the same gas company. Granny Ma and her husband checked in to the Chongqing No. 1 Social Welfare Institute on March 24, 2015. They had been married since 1965. In 2015, the social workers had planned an activity for the senior couples to take wedding photos together, which made their dreams come true. Sadly, on December 20, 2015, Granny Ma's husband was admitted to the hospital. On January 16, 2016, he passed away. Granny Ma was depressed, and she did not want a new roommate to move in.
Granny Ma is kind and gentle. She had never quarreled with her husband. Her husband was optimistic, and they got along well with each other. Though her husband was sometimes ill, he seemed like a healthy person overall. They ate meals, went on walks, and went out together. They stayed with each other like a model couple. They had 2 sons and a daughter. When her husband was in the ICU, their children came and took care of him. After her husband died, Granny Zhou attended the funeral, but she did not want to face the reality. Granny Ma's children were very kind to her, but they could not accompany her all the time. Having company seemed very important.
The general goal of the social workers was to assist Granny Ma to face the reality and move on. The specific goals were to assist Granny Ma to be calm, rational, and peaceful to face death. Meanwhile, they wanted to guide her to understand the benefits of a new roommate and to accept a new roommate. Finally, they wanted to guide Granny Ma to get out of the room and participate in activities.
1st Stage: Establish a Professional Relationship
One way social workers connected with Granny Ma was to listen to her to promote mutual support and understanding. The social workers shared photos and videos with their children and gained their support.
2nd Stage: Relieving Pressure
When her husband was in the hospital, Granny Ma received calls from her children about her husband's situation. She even spoke to her husband sometimes. She visited her husband with the company of her children on January 13, 2016. The night of January 16th, during a critical time, Granny Ma went to the hospital and saw her husband for the last time. Later, she attended the funeral and accompanied her husband to the end of his life. Social workers accompanied Granny Ma to recall all of this, letting her know she had done everything she could. There were no regrets.
3rd Stage: Facing Reality
On February 10th, Granny Ma returned, but she was reluctant to accept the death of her husband. She did not accept a new roommate. Social workers spent time with her every day. They watched TV, recalled the past, and looked into the future. The social workers accompanied her to walk in the yard. Their photos and videos were copied to her cell phone so that she could see them whenever she wanted. Little by little, Granny Ma could face life without her husband. Social workers helped her realize the benefit of a new roommate. They could assist each other and eliminate loneliness. The social workers also connected with her children so they could persuade her to accept a new roommate. On March 4, a new roommate moved in, and they are getting along well.
4th Stage: Facing Life Positively
To enrich her life, social workers encouraged Granny Ma to participate in activities. In the beginning, social workers came to her room and invited her to go to the activity room. A month later, Granny Ma was going to the activities on time. She would ask for help when she had problems. She even came to the office and made conversation with the social workers.
5th stage: Closing the Case and Following Up
In this stage, follow up work is important to enhance the positive results. During the month after her husband passed away, the social workers visited Granny Ma in her room regularly. Sometimes she went to the office to chat with the social workers about how to use a smartphone. After 4 months of interacting with the social workers, Granny Ma realized their value.
Case Evaluation and Introspection
With company and counseling, Granny Ma began to face the reality of her husband’s death and accepted a new roommate. Now Granny Ma has become positive and learned how to use a smartphone and participate in activities. The service goals were achieved.
In this case, the social workers integrated all their resources to help Granny Ma. The social workers have documented the couples in their service sites so they can make plans to serve them well. The social workers hope each couple can have a rational attitude to face life, illness, and death.
Original article written by Fan Yang, translated by Maggie Li, edited by Yanyan Zhang and Carolyn D.
TFISH FUND BLOG
We update news and reports directly from the field written by our NGO partners daily.
PHOTOS & VIDEOS
IN THE NEWS