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July 12, 2013

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Summer family ties stressed

THE city's civil affairs authorities are urging people to visit their elderly parents more often in summer when they are more likely to suffer from depression and other ailments.

Neighborhood committees have also been told to encourage people to pay special attention to their parents in summer.

The Law on Protection of Rights and Interests of the Aged came into effect on July 1.

Communities can play a role in caring for the seniors who live alone, but the government's efforts through the new law cannot replace the spiritual needs of the elders who yearn to see their kids, officials said.

The law was enacted after a series of cases in which seniors, living alone, died and were discovered several days later.

The most recent case was that of an 82-year-old man who was found dead in a bathtub at his home in Yangpu District on Sunday. The man was discovered by his son, who dropped by for a visit. He found his father lying on his back in the water.

Sun Pengbiao, secretary general of the Shanghai Gerontological Society, said people should contact their parents more often by phone or other means if they cannot visit them because of their work or studies in other cities.

Seniors suffer more discomfort in summer due to the sizzling temperature, and those who do not visit their parents frequently should pay special attention to them. It is their obligation to care for parents out of filial piety, Sun said.

If seniors don't pick up calls, they should contact their neighbors or neighborhood committees, Sun said.

There are 233,500 seniors living alone or as couples without the company of their children. There were 3.47 million seniors above the age of 60 by the end of 2011.

Most of them suffer from loneliness, sadness or depression.


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