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Buddhist temple provides elderly care

By Yan Yiqi and Shi Xiaofeng ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-06-17 07:05:25

Buddhist temple provides elderly care

Weng Xiuju (right) and Zhang Huifen spend their twilight years at Guangde Temple in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. [Photo by Yan Yiqi / China Daily]

Buddhist temple provides elderly care

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Devout elders find a haven in their twilight years, in a community that takes care of both their physical and spiritual needs. Yan Yiqi and Shi Xiaofeng report from Ningbo, Zhejiang province.

Weng Xiuju, 79, has been living in Guangde Temple for 13 years. As a Buddhist follower, she gets up at 3 am every morning, attends the temple's morning class with other lay Buddhists and helps in the kitchen during meal times.

For Weng, her twilight years will be peaceful and worry-free under the roof of this temple. Her wish: To die in the temple with blessings from the Buddha.

Weng has chosen to spend her last days in the temple not because she has no relatives to take care of her. She has two sons who are successful businessmen in the local area, but she simply wants to relieve them from the burden of taking care of her.

As the nation's shortage of elder care becomes more acute and its population ages, Guangde Temple might provide new options for those who want to spend their old age in comfort.

The temple, located in Ninghai county of Ningbo, Zhejiang province, provides nursing-home services for its believers older than 60.

Currently serving more than 30 elderly residents, the temple managers plan an expansion that will double its current size, and establish an elder-care area that could take in more than 300 people within three years.

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