– to enable caregivers to work in the hospitality industry

The Carnegie School of Home Economics(CSHE) is moving to change the way care for the elderly is delivered in Guyana. The institution has added the programme ‘Care for the Elderly’ to its Curriculum in an effort to ensure that there are trained and capable persons in the sector.

Vice Principal of CSHE, Sharmaine Marshall, gave an insight into the programme: “I believe this programme will change the way care of the elderly in done within Guyana. I think it will improve a lot of things because what we teach here it is revolutionary, it is trending, and it’s up to world standard. The main emphasis of care for the elderly is to enable persons to work in the hospitality industry and help persons to manage the care of the elderly, to teach them how to treat persons, how to assess the dietary needs of the elderly and what it takes to be someone in the business of elderly care.”

Marshall further stated that the students in the programme are not just learning the theoretical principles, but that they are also being given the opportunity to have several practical opportunities to practice what they have learnt; these practical opportunities will be facilitated by the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and the Palms Geriatric Home.

“We gave the students several opportunities to have interactions with elderly persons, because that’s what they will be doing at the end of this course. Just today, we facilitated the pensioners and the distribution of their pension books in an effort to give the students the opportunity to put in practice what they have learnt. The students were even allowed to make several items including smoothies and teas that are healthy and could be consumed by any of the elderly persons in attendance, even if they may have a special dietary regimen.” Marshall said.

The care for the elderly course is available in a two-option, a part-time and a full-time option. The course currently facilitates fourteen part-time students and eight full-time students. The full-time course is slated to last for two years, while the part-time programme lasts for 12 weeks.

The courses have already commenced; an official launching ceremony is slated for November 12, 2019.

This newspaper spoke with two of the students in the programme; they related that the knowledge they gained throughout the programme has opened their eyes in relation to all of the things that go into elderly care.

One of the students, Savitri Singh, related her experience: “I’ve learnt so much; number one, I didn’t really know a lot about the caring; I just knew like that you could cook the food and give them and whatever, but I didn’t know that there were persons with specific dietary needs and so on. I didn’t know how to do bed baths or test pressure. And I learnt all of that in just a few short weeks. It gave me a new perspective on how care for the elderly works, we had placement at the Palms (Geriatric Home) and we had to be with them for a week and the experience was really nice, and we were there actually caring for someone who is not your family member, and it was such a great feeling”
Lone male participant, Joseph Johnson, explained what the programme meant to him: “I think it’s something that more young people should step out and take up because our population has a lot of elderly people and they need care, some of them don’t have anyone they can depend on for help, and so it’s up to us to help. What pushed me to actually decide to do the full course was that I was given the opportunity due to my prior course to go to one of the care home and from that experience of being able to help out, it made me realize that I actually wanted to do this.”

Elderly care, or simply, care for the elderly, is the fulfillment of the special needs and requirements that are unique to senior citizens.