IMPACT OF DEWDROP FOUNDATION’S CAREGIVING TRAINING ON THE WELL-BEING AND HEALTH OF THE ELDERLY IN THE VOICE PROJECT COMMUNITIES
Dewdrop Foundation in partnership with Centre for Gender Economics Initiative (CGE-Africa) co-implemented an 18 months project; CURTAILING ELDER ABUSE IN ELEVEN COMMUNITIES IN ENUGU STATE between 2019 – 2020. The project was funded by Oxfam’s Voice to reduce the incidences of physical, verbal or psychological violence against elderly, as well as bridge the knowledge gaps in the Care of the elderly among relatives, community members and caregivers of the elderly. The overall impact of the project was to improve the health and the well-being of the elderly and strengthen their voices by;
- Dialogue and engagement;
- Improvement in the health and social welfare of the elderly
- Promotion of the acceptance of the elderly within the community;
- Empowerment through capacity development and skills acquisition on Eldercare.
The project identified the need to equip the primary Caregivers of the elderly with the relevant skills and knowledge needed to effectively care for the aged. This need was identified through a baseline survey conducted in 11 eleven communities in Enugu State Nigeria 2019, on the “Neglect and Abuse of Elderly Persons in Enugu State” (see link to the baseline study report https://bit.ly/3xbokTd). The research outcome showed a devastating health and wellbeing status of the elderly in sampled communities. Some of the identified causes of the poor health and well-being of the elderly included; neglect by the community, poor awareness about the needs of the elderly, intergenerational disconnect between the elderly and the younger generation, and the absence of social inclusion & protection framework for the care of the elderly.
To reverse these trends, the project focused on building community capacity and knowledge through sensitizations, advocacies, awareness exercises and vocational education for members of the community, the community leaders and other relevant stakeholders on eldercare. The project also underscored the importance of protecting the elderly from negative vices such as neglect and abuse.
Dewdrop Foundation collaborated with the Centre for Gender Economics and Dewdrop Institute, which is the training arm of DDF in order to train the primary Caregivers of the elderly. The trainees, who were mostly family relatives were equipped with relevant skills in bathing, health and hygiene, safety tips, dressing, feeding and mobility. They learnt the proper ways to care for the elderly. Prior to the inception of the DDF/CGE Africa project in the communities, elderly persons were tagged as witches and wizards, whose ordeal was perceived as the repercussion for the wrong done during their youthful days. As a result of this misconception in these communities, most older persons were treated with disdain and suffer neglect, and in worst cases abuse.
Similarly, the age-related challenges; ranging from deteriorating sensory system, urinary system and so on, further aggravated the pains of our older beneficiaries. This project therefore aimed at correcting the wrong socio-cultural perception, that had become unwittingly imbibed in the communities. To create a mindset change, DDF carried out series of awareness and sensitizations on the rights and privileges of the elderly as well as educating the communities on how best to cater for this vulnerable population.
The beneficiaries of the project were from the eleven (11) project communities which are; Akpuoga – Nike, Akwuke, Akwuke – Uwani, Amechi – Idodo, Ishienu – Nkerefi, Isigwe – Ugbawka, Ndiagu – Owo, Ogbeke/Ukuruta, Ogonogoeji Ndiuno Akpugo, Ojiagu Agbani and Umuode communities in Enugu State. The workshop beneficiaries were taught the diverse health challenges which older persons suffer ranging from Dementia, Alzheimer’s, incontinence and the likes and the ways to care for them with each peculiar challenge. The rights of older persons and Caregivers alike were taught as enunciated in the United Nations (UN) Unilateral Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR). The Vocational training beneficiaries learnt the importance of upholding these rights in administering care to the elderly persons. The Caregivers also learnt about the various forms of elder abuse and the best ways to support victims to deal with signs as well as where to seek redress. The workshop reached over 40 Caregivers from the 11 project communities in Enugu State. The elderly persons in the communities now testify to an improvement in their health and wellbeing as a result of the better care they receive from their Caregivers who have been trained.
The professional Caregiving training impacted on the lives, services and by implication the earnings & career status of the primary Caregivers. Meanwhile, on the flip side, the elderly benefitted from project through improved services received from the trained caregiver which translated to improved quality of lives of the elderly people.
DDF created a data base for feedback, testimonies, and videos retrieved from the beneficiaries. Questionnaires were also administered as part of DDF’s project monitoring and evaluation strategy. As a way of tracking project impact and sustaining project gains (impacts), DDF continues to support the established Seenagers platform (a name coined from senior teenagers aged 60 and above) through the facilitation of the monthly Seenagers’ meeting by trained community mobilizers/Caregivers using CGE/DDF knowledge material “Seenagers meeting Toolkit”. Topical age-related issues, health based and social concerns of the elderly are addressed in this monthly meeting across the 11 communities through the established Seenagers’ platforms.
An overview of the Front cover DDF/CGE’s Seenagers Meeting Toolkit
The three-module Seenager Meeting toolkit include; Sections under Life Cycle and Relationships, Promoting Healthy habits and systems, the ideal Community and State, with highly impactful topics ranging from; safety, freedom from abuse, attitudes towards retirement, health and social care for the elderly, lifestyle and hygiene, disability issue among the aged, transport and mobility, civic participation, social inclusion etc. This document is an innovative guide for trained caregivers and community mobilizers in Enugu State for caring for the elderly and for anchoring the monthly Seenagers’ meeting.
Other education-based materials produced under the project include;
- Enugu State Elderly Persons Welfare and Social Protection Bill: This document aimed at securing right responses and commitment to the wellbeing of the elderly in Enugu State through the presentation of ideas and privileges that will provide for the welfare and social Protection of elderly persons resident in Enugu State.
An overview of the Front cover DDF/CGE’s Social Protection Bill Submitted to the Enugu State House of assembly, 2019
- The Community Inclusion Guide for the Elderly: This document emphasized the inclusion strategies that can be adopted by the different community stakeholders and their roles towards the well-being of the elderly
An overview of the Front cover DDF/CGE’s Community Inclusion Guide for the Elderly
- Neglect and abuse of Elderly Persons in Enugu State: The baseline study of 11 communities was undertaken in 11 community samples of Enugu State to;
- Review community and family attitudes towards elders care and well-being,
- Identify the typology of abuse experienced by elders, and
- Find out factors that are both supportive as well as obstructive to elder care within home-based care in project communities and recommend measures to address the problems.
Some of DDF’s trained Caregivers taking elderly people on an evening walk.
Caregivers rendering mobility assistance to an elderly woman
One of DDF’s trained Caregiver carrying out outdoor recreational activity with an elderly.
A cross section of the caregivers writing a snap test during the Caregiving training
Picture of some trainees during the caregiving training
One of Dewdrop Institute’s facilitators during the training section
Rev Sr Judith Nwodo, observing lesson delivery during the Caregiving training
One of the beneficiaries of DDF’s Caregiving training (Miracle Alice Okorie) with a Seenager
James Nwaobodo (a beneficiary of DDF’s vocational training in Caregiving) with his grandmother