Course on nursing the elderly

nursing the elderly
By FAREZZA HANUM RASHID

 

THE Malaysian Healthy Ageing Society (MHAS) recently held a screening of the new James Bond movie, Skyfall to raise funds for its “Caring for the Elderly” programme to be carried out next year.

KUALA LUMPUR: MHAS booked the entire hall with tickets priced at RM350, RM100 and RM80 and the tickets were sold out.

The “Caring for the Elderly” is a programme designed by MHAS to teach people how to care for the elderly.

First launched in 2009, the programme covers a wide range of topics, including dressing surgical wounds, monitoring heart and blood sugar levels, administering medicines and handling and transporting elderly patients.

Assoc Prof Nathan Vytialingam says that many of the elderly have been abandoned. Pix by Peter Lim

The programme will include topics such as caring for stroke patients, managing depression and basic resuscitation and first aid.

Sessions on immunisation and health insurance planning are also on the agenda for next year.

Last year’s programme was held in seven states and was attended by 2,500 participants.

“There has been an increase incases where the elderly have been abandoned at hospitals and homes. This is one of the reasons we want to emphasise the need for proper care, ” said MHAS adviser, Associate Professor Nathan Vytialingam at the movie screening.

He added that there is a need for certification for those looking after elderly people

“A caregiver has to be equipped with the right knowledge and skills and be aware of the physical and mental state of an elderly patient so that the right form of intervention can be used.

“Nursing home caregivers in Australia, United States, Hawaii and Japan are trained to handle elderly patients and some of them have certification programmes,” he said.

Emphasising that ageing well starts early, Nathan said ageing is not just about the physical aspect but the mental and emotional also.

The population of Malaysians aged 60 and above is expected to increase from eight per cent today to 20 per cent by 2050.

With the prevalence of diseases such as depression and diabetes attacking people at a young age, the state of their health as they get older is worrying and it is obvious that more caregivers will be required in future.

MHAS council member, Associate Professor Dr Philip George said that participants can also make new friends and form support groups.

“Many people have given up their jobs to take care of their aged parents. This can be stressful and it is helpful to have a support group,” he said.

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