Caregivers of older persons receive training

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Professor C. Charles Mate-Kole, the Former Director of the Centre for Ageing Studies, University of Ghana, has called on caregivers to understand depression in older persons.

He said sometimes older people could get depressed or get dementia contributing to the way they react while taking care of them.

Prof. Mate-Kole made the call at the opening of a three-day training course for formal and informal caregivers of older persons in Accra.

The training organised by the Centre for Ageing Studies was to build the capacity of caregivers and to improve their knowledge in taking care of older persons.

He said there was so much abuse of older people in the community because some of them were depressed and had dementia.

Prof Mate-Kole urged caregivers or family members, who take care of older persons, to regularly engage them in ministry aerobics to help them improve their memory while also having adaptive computerized Cognitive training for them.

He said most often society viewed older persons as burdens, but many benefits come with ageing, including older persons as custodians of family values, the pride of the family and the community, and repositories of history (oral tradition).

Prof. Mavis Dako-Gyeke, the Director of the Centre, said population ageing was on the ascendancy in Ghana and older persons were expected to constitute almost 10 per cent of the Ghanaian population by 2050.

She said nonetheless, as people grow older, the likelihood of becoming frail and functionally impaired also grows, particularly due to the probable onset of chronic ailments and disability in old age.

The Director said, as a result, older persons might require some form of care and support to maintain an appreciable standard of living.

She said it was expedient to note that care for older persons was a complex task that may require both formal and informal caregivers to continually enhance their knowledge and skills to be capable of delivering adequate care to their recipients.

Prof. Dako-Gyeke said during the training workshop knowledgeable and expert resource persons would introduce participants to diverse perspectives and knowledge and modern caregiving practices.

Topics to focus on are Cognitive Changes in Ageing, Economic Aspects of Ageing, Pastoral Care and Spiritual Well-being of the Elderly, Retirement Planning, Healthy Ageing and Geriatric Care; and Understanding and Caring for the Elderly.

She expressed the hope that participants would gain knowledge and skills that would enhance their caregiving capabilities for the benefit of their care recipients.

The Director said the Center constituted an interdisciplinary group of faculties with teaching and machines in ageing-related issues.

The Centre conducts cutting-edge research that aims at providing empirical evidence to inform policies and interventions that would improve the well-being of older persons.

Other activities organized by the Centre include research conferences, colloquium, and outreach programmes.
She said currently, the Centre was developing academic programmes that would lead to the accumulation of academic credits and graduate degrees.

Dr George Domfe, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Social Policy Studies, University of Ghana, said older persons were the custodians of the country’s culture, so without them, “we may not know so much about our culture,”
He said currently seven out of every 100 older persons were working so not all of them depend on the community but rather, some of them are in active production.

He said aside from the benefits of ageing, there were adverse effects at the household level, the community, and the national level.

Dr Domfe called on caregivers to be committed to what they do by taking care of the older persons, saying “there is a lot of blessing associated with it.”

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