Over 50 participants from the aged-care industry were part of a workshop conducted by the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) in collaboration with the Fiji Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) today.
The workshop with the theme, ‘Let’s break the silence’, was held at the Golden Age Home in Lautoka and primarily focused on raising awareness on elder abuse.
The Government of Fiji, through the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, is appreciative of the initiatives to provide training towards sensitizing staff in its State administered aged care facilities on the issue of elder abuse. Indeed the training is an opportunity to create awareness not only in the institutional settings but more so in communities around the country to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect. The Ministry are working to promote awareness in partnership with stakeholders.
The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon Mereseini Vuniwaqa stated that caregiving is the bedrock of health and social systems worldwide. Caregivers must be involved in accredited training and professional development so that services delivered are within international best practices.
Hon Vuniwaqa said that the partnership with APTC will bring to reality the vision to better caregiving services to the older persons in homes and in communities.
In 2017, APTC and the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation formalised a partnership to enable APTC to deliver professional development training sessions in 2018 to improve the quality of aged care services across Fiji.
Today’s professional development exercise was attended by staff of the Golden Age Home, trainers from the University of the South Pacific’s Caregiving Fundamentals program, and staff and students of the Caregivers Training Institute in Nadi.
Participants learned about efforts to address elder abuse in Fiji, importance of strengthening industry partnerships, and about WEAAD in general.
Within the aged-care industry in the region, APTC has been contributing towards knowledge sharing and skills training for people working within the Community or Aged Care Homes through its Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community) program.
“We are delighted to be working alongside the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and other Higher Education Institutes in Fiji to once again bring this awareness into the public. This is an issue that is not Fiji based. It is a problem worldwide and it is our role as Aged Care Specialists to ‘Break the Silence’ and protect some of the most vulnerable and precious people in society. This issue needs to be tackled collaboratively by all of us,” said workshop facilitator and APTC’s Trainer in Individual Support program, Ms Sandy O’Brien.
The WEAAD is a United Nations designated day that is marked globally on 15 June for people to voice their opposition to the abuse and suffering afflicted towards the elderly in our communities.