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Georgetown, Guyana – (August 14, 2017) The Office of the First Lady in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection, today, opened the second Training of ‘Caregivers for the Elderly’ Workshop for this year at the Regency Suites, Hadfield Street, Georgetown. Lieutenant Colonel (ret’d) Yvonne Smith of the Office of the First Lady, who attended the opening ceremony, encouraged the participants to take advantage of the opportunity afforded to them to not only better themselves, but to provide the much needed care for one of the vulnerable groups in society.

The five-day workshop, which caters for 39 female participants, is intended to help the caregivers to understand their roles, responsibilities and relationships with the client and to understand the confidential nature of their role. It will focus on areas such as identifying a stroke, types of stroke, moving and positioning of the elderly, dealing with mental health issues such as Alzheimer’s disease, stress management, abuse of seniors, diabetes care and management, feeding of seniors, responsibilities of the caregiver and skills in communicating with the elderly. It will be facilitated by Licenced Clinical Social Worker, Ms. Ismay Griffith and Gender Consultant at the Ministry of Social Protection, Ms. Hazel Halley-Burnett.

This first component will be followed by the First Aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the use of the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training, at the Guyana Red Cross Society (GRCS) on August 21-25, 2017.

Participants at the ‘Caregivers for the Elderly’ Workshop were asked to write one word that comes to mind when they think of the elderly.

One of the participants, Ms. Monifa Holder, during an interactive session, said that elderly persons must be respected, since they have a lot of experiences, which can be shared with others to improve their lives, “older folks are equipped with a lot of knowledge and experience, especially if you are going through a difficult time, you can always go to an older folk… they always have something positive [to say] that can see you through.”

Ms. Sheneeza Scott encouraged her colleagues to always have patience and understanding. She explained that while she was caring for an elderly person, it was quickly recognised that his mood changes quite often and gaining an appreciation for those challenges faced by seniors, would enable the caregiver to be excellent at the job.

Ms. Lavern Fredericks said that the elderly must always be shown kindness. Her thoughts were supported by another participant, Ms. Delon Blessing, who noted that love and care are also critical to the process, “I worked at homes where sometimes the family do not have time to care for them [the elderly] and that’s the reason they hire you, so you need to have that love.”

The participants were drawn from various organisations and communities, including the Women Across Differences (WAD). At the end of the workshop, they will receive a certificate of completion and will be placed at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Uncle Eddie’s Home and the Palms Geriatric Home for a one-day practical exercise.

The first certified ‘Care for the Elderly’ Workshop for this year, which catered for 34 participants, was held in April at the Ministry of Social Protection’s Boardroom.

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