About 200 meters away from the collapsed house stands a big new house belonging to the man's son.
Ruan Jiaguo, the old man, who was buried alive by the falling ceiling and walls, was found lying alone on his bed, the only furniture besides a stove in the roughly 40-square-meter house, which was built more than 100 years ago.
Villagers rushed to the house after the collapse and found Ruan in his bed, covered beneath dust and debris and with a deep cut in his forehead.
"It is so pathetic for a man with daughters and sons to die in this way," said an anonymous villager.
Although Ruan spent his entire life in the village, he wasn't well known by the villagers, who knew little besides the fact that he'd became disabled after working in a cement factory and had married a blind woman who left him when their children had grown up.
Living alone in the old house, Ruan sometimes received food from his two daughters when they stopped by his house. But the condition of the dilapidated house never changed until it fell.
Plans for renovating the village's old houses had begun last year; however, they were proceeding with limited quotas and could only serve five houses a year. Ruan's house was not on the list.
Officials in the village once tried to persuade the old man to move out of the house and live with his son, but the old man refused, saying he wouldn't move out until his son was married.
Meng, the director of the Civil Affairs Office of Huangshapu Town, said that a nursery house has been built for the elderly in need of special care. So far about 20 elder people have moved in.
But, he continued, the problems of elderly people living alone cannot be solved simply by the hand of government; they require the help of younger generations to take care of their aging parents.