Aging anticipation

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-9-13 18:43:01

Gao Ying, a 35-year-old volunteer, exercises with a group of elderly people in the morning. She's participating a fundraiser in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province that requires volunteers to pretend to be old for a day. Photo: CFP

Two volunteers walk with canes. Photo: CFP


A volunteer straps a sandbag to her leg to simulate how difficult it is to walk when old. Photo: CFP


Three volunteers wait for their meals at the cafeteria. Photo: CFP


A volunteer sits by the window. He said it felt lonely if he couldn't walk easily and couldn't hear clearly. Photo: CFP

In the morning, 26-year-old Lei Mengyun got up and put on her glasses and earplugs, and strapped sandbags to her legs.

She moved more slowly than usual because of the weight on her legs, could barely hear anything unless people yelled into her ears, and was careful while walking, because her glasses made her dizzy.

Lei was participating in a fundraiser called "24 hours of loneliness" with about 200 other people. The activity was organized by a newly established home for the elderly in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. Organizers hope this event can raise awareness of China's aging society and make young people show more respect and provide more help to the elderly.

Volunteers, aged from 20 to 60, were asked to hand in their phones and cut off contact with the outside world for 24 hours, and put on gears to imitate the state senior people are in.

In doing so, the volunteers experienced their own difficulties.

Forty-year-old Jiang Xingqin said that after the morning exercise he went back to his room to read the newspaper. But because of the glasses, he could only read when he held the paper closer to his eyes. He had to eat lunch with no salt because it's good for old people's health. Life became boring instantly, he said.

"This is so tiring. It's harder than walking on a catwalk," Lei said at the close of the day's program.

Many said they will definitely look at seniors with a different attitude from now on and try to be more helpful.

Gao Ying, a 35-year-old volunteer, said she was simply being a filial daughter before she participated in this program, obeying her parents and getting them what they wanted. But after this, she would start to think creatively about what she could do to make her parents' lives more exciting.

Some senior citizens also participated in this event. Li Xiuqin, 60, said she hoped she could still exercise after 10 years and learn to use new technology, this way she can still catch up with the trends of society. 

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