About 20 participants participated in two half day workshops conducted by Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) for caregivers of Person with Dementia (PWD) on 18 and 25 February 2017. The purpose was to equip ourselves with some basic skills to help PWD.
The participation was lively and real cases shared by both presenter and participants kept the learning journey fruitful. The first trainer, Mr Jeffrey Woo, an experienced nurse, covered Person-Centred Care and Communication. We were given case studies and we had to share how we could apply the principles of VIPS.
V – Valuing PWD regardless of the mental state of the person and their caregivers
I – Individual Care, treating PWD as individuals with very different needs
P – Perspectives, understand life from the perspective of the PWD
S – Social Environment, providing a positive social psychological environment for the
well-being of the PWD .
The group acknowledged that it is important for us to respect the PWD. Therefore, a lot of patience is required and the core to this is LOVE.
The second trainer Ms Luo Danlin, an occupational therapist, shared on what to consider when planning and engaging in activities for PWD. We learn how to make simple lanterns with angpows. Through demonstration and sequencing of steps, we help them to focus while at the same time maintaining a suitable pace of conversation.
To draw their interest, we need to know their skills and abilities, discover their history, their cultural and spiritual background.
We are now more aware that Dementia is everyones business. We can empathize with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are caregivers to their family members or perhaps able to recognize the signs and symptoms of the PWD in our community and extend our assistance, care and love. Remembering always that PWD should be treated with VIPS.
Here is a testimony from one of the participants:
I really enjoyed the 2 workshops. I must confessed that I was very reluctant to join my wife at first. I am glad I came. Whenever I thought of the verse “equipping the saints… Ephesians 4”, I usually approached it from a spiritual angle only. Now I believe that a more holistic approach to equipping the saints will go a long way to enable the church to care for the members, families and friends.
There are 2 things that I take away from this course.
- Encouraging the Caregivers – hearing the caregivers share their experiences helps me understand their struggles and challenges. We could begin to learn how to provide a safe space and support for caregivers.
- Enabling the Person with dementia – the speakers emphasized that the PWD needs plenty of respect despite their conditions. They should be encouraged to do simple things and feel enabled in the process.
Today 1 out of 10 persons above 60 suffer from dementia. It is going to grow rapidly. To be equipped is part of my learning journey to be ready for good work, to serve God meaningfully at this stage of my life. Thank God for AIC’S dedication. They need our support. – Chan Hoe Meng