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Georgetown, Guyana – (August 18, 2017) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, today, encouraged the 36 graduates from the ‘Care for the Elderly’ workshop to demonstrate tenderness when caring for senior citizens, which, coupled with the expertise that they’ve gained from the training, would enhance the quality of life of their clients. The workshop was organised by the Office of the First Lady in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection. The Closing Ceremony was held at the Regency Suites Hotel on Hadfield Street, Georgetown.

The First Lady told the graduates that they should keep in mind that one day they too may need that same level of quality care and treatment. “Hopefully when we reach that age and require that kind of care and attention, we will have enough qualified people with us, who are caring enough and knowledgeable enough to handle us, in the midst of all the things that happen to us when we become senior citizens… We lose control of our physical being and all sorts of things happen,” Mrs. Granger said.

Supporting the First Lady’s comments, Director of Social Services, Ministry of Social Protection, Mr. Whentworth Tanner implored the participants to show empathy and exercise patience when dealing with the elderly, some of whom have been victims of physical and verbal abuse and financial exploitation. He said that the Social Protection Ministry is implementing a system of 19 minimum operating standards for care giving homes.

Participants of the ‘Care for the Elderly’ Workshop were urged to use the correct protective gear when administering medication or conducting tests on elderly persons in their care.

He said, “We must have quality care for our elders. It must be of a certain a level. To be able to monitor or evaluate this we have created a visiting committee; a multi-discipline committee. It comprises a Gerontologist, we have an engineer, there is someone from the Fire Service, there’s a dietician to look at the dietary needs of these persons and we also have a social worker.”

Further, Mr. Tanner said that in 2018 a Senior Citizen Department will be established at the Ministry and a National Policy on Aging will be implemented.

The five-day workshop was intended to help the caregivers understand their roles, responsibilities and relationships with the client and to understand the confidential nature of their role. It focused on areas such as 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 was facilitated by Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Ms. Ismay Griffith and Gender Consultant at the Ministry of Social Protection, Ms. Hazel Halley-Burnett.

This 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) from August 21-25, 2017.

The participants were drawn from various organisations, including the Women Across Differences (WAD), the Buxton Day Care Centre and the Lusignan Learning Centre. Each participant received a certificate and following the First Aid component, they will be placed at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Uncle Eddie’s Home and the Palms Geriatric Home for one-day practical exercises.

The participants were placed in groups where they demonstrated how to properly care for the elderly in various stages of illness and the correct use of protective gear. Ms. Lavern Fredericks, speaking on behalf of the participants said that, “We learnt that as people age mobility reduces and it gets harder for them to get around. We learnt that we have to get patience and understanding so that they can feel comfortable and loved.”

This is the second certified ‘Care for the Elderly’ Workshop for 2017 and the fourth since the establishment of the Office of the First Lady in 2015.

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