Heart and doors opened to homeless seniors

Yu Xihui (middle) has a meal with two of more than 30 seniors living in the Xihui Nursing Home in the suburbs of Anda, Heilongjiang province.ZHOU HUIYING/CHINA DAILY

Woman who has taken in dozens of elderly people over three decades now faces her own health battle

Every day Yu Xihui wakes up at around 4 am without the help of an alarm, starting her busy day by taking care of more than 30 homeless seniors she has “adopted” over the years.

Located in the suburbs of Anda, Heilongjiang province, her 400-square-meter house has become a home for these seniors.

Yu, 55, calls it the Xihui Nursing Home, after her name.

Like other nursing homes, there are 10 rooms with three beds and a small TV set in each, a dining room and a public bathroom. The difference is that all the residents can live at the Xihui Nursing Home for free.

Over the past 30 years, Yu has adopted more than 100 homeless seniors and looked after them till they passed away.

She remembers the first time she took an old vagrant to her home in 1990.

“It was almost the coldest time of the year when I found him shivering under a straw mat on the roadside,” she recalled. “Without enough clothing to keep him warm he appeared to have some frostbite.”

When the old man told Yu he had no family to care for him and had begged for many years, she decided without hesitation to take him home. “He might have frozen to death if he stayed outside,” Yu recalled.

After eating a bowl of hot noodles at Yu’s home, the old man started to recover.

Yu said she could sympathize with the man’s plight.