First Lady opens second certified ‘Care for the Elderly’ workshop -urges young women to take advantage  


Georgetown, Guyana – (April 4, 2017) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, yesterday, opened the second certified ‘Care for the Elderly’ Workshop, which was organised by her office, at the Ministry of Social Protection’s Boardroom, with the charge to 34 participants that they take full advantage of the opportunities presented.  Mrs. Granger noted that while it is a skill that can boost their income and afford them economic independence, they must also see the opportunity as a means of bolstering  the care and treatment provided to one of the vulnerable groups in the society.

From left to right: Ms Venus Smart, Public Health Nurse, Ms. Ismay Griffith, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Facilitator, First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, Ms. Hazel Halley-Burnett, Gender Consultant, Ministry of Social Protection, Ms. Yvonne Smith, Office of the First Lady and Mr. Diego Alphonso, Head of the Men’s Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Social Protection.

The workshop, which will run for five days, will focus on areas such as what is caregiving, identifying the types of senior needs, cleansing and wound cleaning, moving and positioning, dealing with health issues such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and other types of mental health, stress management, abuse of seniors, identifying and dealing with the types of strokes, diabetes care and management, feeding of seniors and dental care and hygiene.  It is being funded by the Ministry of Social Protection in collaboration with the Office of the First Lady.

The First Lady noted that senior citizens make up a significant number of  Guyana’s population and told participants that it is important that their care is of a high standard.

“We need to start thinking about our seniors and see that they are not just objects to be discarded once they have  [retired].  Senior citizens are important and they have experience and knowledge that they would have gathered from over the years that the young people can benefit from. They also carry with them our history, family history, events that happened in our villages and towns and so they can help us to relate to the environment in which we live. I think that your experience here today would help you to understand how better you can deal with seniors,” she said.

The workshop  is also intended to help the caregivers to understand their roles, responsibilities and relationships  with the client and to understand the confidential nature of their role.

First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger addressing the participants of the Care for Elderly Workshop at the Ministry of Social Protection’s Boardroom, earlier yesterday

Ms. Hazel Halley-Burnett, Gender Consultant at the Ministry of Social Protection, said that the initiative by the First Lady must be commended as there is a need for this type of training in Guyana.   “The initiative behind this training was the sole idea of the First Lady and we need to commend her for this initiative and her ability to put things together.  This is the second of a series of trainings that have been planned.  We have been able to learn from the first and we have to pack a lot into one week.  The elderly population in Guyana is a significant one and if we try to provide the kind of care that they need, then we would have given them something to look forward to.  We want to create avenues for them to come together and socialise and still give of themselves,” she said.

Ms. Pauline McDowell, one of the participants from Buxton, in an invited comment said that she is grateful for the workshop as it will be beneficial not only as skill to earn, but to also deal with elderly members of her family.  “I am hoping to take away more knowledge than I came with because I currently care for my mother and my grandmother and I have the patience for it,” she said.

Ms. Karishma Balgobin, of Lusignan, in an invited comment, said that she aspires to be a nurse someday and that she sees the workshop  as a stepping-stone to her career advancement.  “This is very educational and interesting for me and I am hoping to take away as much as I can. It will help me to move along the road of achieving my dream of becoming a nurse,” she said.

The participants were drawn from various organisations and communities, including the Women Across Differences (WAD), Buxton/ Friendship, Mahaica and Lusignan. At the  end of the workshop, they will receive a certificate of completion and will have the opportunity to move on to other certified courses such as First Aid Training at the Guyana Red Cross Society.  They will also be placed at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) at the end of the training for a one-day practical exercise.

Some of the participants at the opening of the workshop

First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger discussing the Training Manual with Ms. Hazel Halley-Burnett (right), Gender Consultant at the Ministry of Social Protection and Ms. Yvonne Smith, of the Office of the First Lady .