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Need for expertise in taking care of people in sunset years

HONG KONG (Mabuhay) : The HIV Education Centre at St. John’s  Cathedral, Central, together with the Atech Holistic Wellness Institute, has put together a training course for domestic workers that have migrated to the city and take care of people of advanced age in their homes.

Ada Yu Wing-cheung, a physiotherapist from the institute, designed the course.

She told Mabuhay, “Many foreign domestic workers, although experienced, are still prone to muscle strain while taking care of the old people. The course aims to let them know a proper and safe way to take care of others and themselves.”

She believes that with the aging population in Hong Kong, domestic workers’ duties are no longer limited to household chores, as many of them are involved in the health care of people in the sunset years of their lives.

She explained that this requires a certain degree of professional skill. Furthermore, it is the common wish of employers that workers protect their own bodies and muscles, so that they are fit to work.

The course is designed around eight, three-hour sessions, covering techniques like ways to take care
of aged people and young children. 

It covers areas involving mass-
age, stretching exercises and nutrition.

During the third session of the current course on October 28, Jualie Camson and Jeana Matias were taught how to massage people in their later years who suffer from back pain or aching muscles after sleeping for a long time.

They also learned how to do stretching exercises, as well as massage each other’s sore spots in the shoulders and arms.

After repeated explanation and practice, the two were able to negotiate all the steps and locate the points in need of massage, without any hints from the instructor.

Yu chuckled they will have no difficulty passing their examination at the end of the course.

In the last session in December, there will be a simple examination requiring those taking the course to go through the skills they have learned, before they receive a certificate.

“It is just to make sure that they can do the techniques readily and correctly if required,” Yu said.

Camson said her employer recommended the course to her so that she could take better care of the aging father, who suffers from painful knees and has a bad appetite. The techniques she learned
included how to help him sit down properly, lie down and walk.

Matias said her employer told her to come so that she could take better care of herself. “I can do the massage for my friends on holidays and do some exercise to relax my muscles after the course,” she said.

She added that the techniques were taught step by step with lots of practice, so she can remember them easily. And as she uses them every day in her work, the examination at the end of the course will not require much revision.

Elijah Fung, centre manager of the St. John’s Cathedral HIV Education Centre, said she is not concerned about the small numbers enrolling for the first course, as there was only about two weeks promotion time.

“There is a real need to give workers training. And if we can train a few workers successfully, they will promote the course among others,” Fung said.

The next series of sessions will begin in January next year.