Faces and places in an aging China

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Snapshots in Time

Anita Bergen, Cameron Nicolle, Special to Canadian Mennonite

Like Canada, China is facing an aging population. There is a growing need for elder-care homes, as families shift away from the cultural norm of taking care of their aging loved ones. Churches have stepped in and have begun to build elder-care homes to address the need. These churches have reached out to faith communities in North America that have a long history of running nursing homes, to hear about their experiences.

In March of this year, my husband, Cameron Nicolle, and I were invited to spend four weeks in rural China providing training to church-based elder-care homes in five cities south of Shanghai, as part of a collaboration between the China Christian Council and Mennonite Partners in China.

With my 17 years working as a long-term-care nurse and my husband’s nine years as executive director of an agency serving people with intellectual disabilities, we were asked to make presentations on such topics as dementia, resident-directed care, board development, human resources and wound care. We were thrilled to learn that our sessions were attended by staff from more than 60 homes, and we have been encouraged by the knowledge that significant networking has taken place among staff from the various homes.  

Our time in China was remarkable. We will always remember the incredible hospitality, the warmth of the people and, of course, the amazing food!

To view a slide show of more photos, visit bit.ly/bergen-china-2017.

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