Martin C. Barry
Chomedey’s Agape Association held a special recognition evening at the Château Royal on March 22 during which caregivers who took part in knowledge-building workshops over the past year were honored. Seniors who completed a computer training workshop were also rewarded with certificates of recognition.
Learning to be a caregiver
“Because of the great success of our project with the caregivers of seniors, we are rewarding them for the excellent work that they’ve done with their families,” said Agape’s Betty McLeod. “We’re also honouring the seniors who got involved in our computer classes, which are offered free of charge every year.”
The caregivers followed Agape’s series of workshops, sponsored by ‘l’Appui pour les Proches Aidants d’Ainés de Laval,’ and given by knowledgeable guest speakers over the past year. Topics ranged from nutrition, community resources in Laval and available to them, warning signs of caregiver stress and burnout, prescription medication, technical aids in the home as well as legal planning concerning caregivers most.
Certificates were handed out to all participants who were present, as well as to the guest speakers in recognition of their participation informing and guiding the caregivers during the workshops. According to statistics based on 2006 census data, 298,645 caregivers (15 years and older) are believed to reside in Laval who provide a varying number of hours of support to their aging loved ones. Of these caregivers, some 50,495 are 65 years of age and older and 60 per cent of these are women.
The other seniors honoured were participants in the ‘Seniors Leading the Way’ project. Agape provided computer courses to seniors 55 years and older. Participants learned the basic use of computers with the Windows operating system as well as the basics of navigating the internet and using e-mail.
Expanding seniors’ horizons
The purpose of the project, according to Agape, was to teach seniors how to tap into resources useful to seniors on the Internet, with particular emphasis on elder abuse prevention. Those who excelled the most in their learning are now expected to share their knowledge by teaching other seniors what they learned through Agape’s course. A parallel benefit of the course was that it provided the seniors with stimulation in the form of learning, which may be beneficial in curbing cognitive loss which can occur with advancing age.