Her company has given assurances that the new facility will have neither hospice care nor mortuary facilities. The senior home will have a separate, gated entrance. Blueprints of the project, distributed to area residents, have failed to assuage their opposition.
"Some residents in the complex view us as the enemy and don't trust us," said a district official who asked to remain anonymous.
"Talks have been fruitless. This is the first time we have had any kind of opposition. We have other senior care homes in the district next to residential complexes and have had no problems."
The protests are disheartening to officials concerned about the aging population.
The number of Shanghai residents aged 60 or older grew 7 percent last year to more than 4.1 million, or nearly 30 percent of all residents. The number is set to surpass 6 million by 2025, according to the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.
As the population ages and more young relatives find it difficult to take care of elderly kin at home, vacancies in senior care facilities are becoming scarcer. People sometimes have to wait years for an available bed.
There were 660 registered nursing homes in the city last year, with 114,907 beds, or just enough places to serve 2.8 percent of the city's over-60 population.
In the Yanji area where the new project is located, the target is to have 525 beds before 2020 to meet the goal of serving 3 percent of the senior population. At present there are 209 beds.
The "not-in-my-backyard" (Nimby) mentality is not that rare in China where hospice care is concerned.
The Yangpu District government last year halted a plan to build a hospice center with more than 1,000 beds on Yingkou Road, close to a residential community, after the project provoked outrage among area residents.
Late last year, residents in Huijing Jialiyuan, a residential complex in Xuhui District, also protested the construction of a hospital for tumor patients because they said they didn't want to hear the sounds of people crying and ambulance sirens or see vehicles carrying corpses. That work also was suspended.
Is this all just a manifestation of the fact that death is still largely a taboo subject in China?
Gu Xiaoming, a sociologist from Shanghai's Fudan University, said it would be better to develop mixed-community living instead of isolating the old in special facilities.
People are content if family members die at home or in a hospital, but they don't like the idea of institutionalized dying, he said.
"We really can't change this mindset," he said. "If there was a hospital right next to your home, you wouldn't complain. But mention hospice care, and the red flags go up."
Gu suggested a change in terminology might help.
"We don't have to call them hospice care," he said. "We could call it a senior cadres ward. We just have to change the image. I mean, how would it sound if we called the intensive care unit of a hospital the death ward?"
He suggested that nursing homes could become departments within hospitals.
In Germany, he added, kindergartens are sometimes located next to elderly homes so that children, from an early age, learn to grow up and live around the aged.