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    Jun 29, 2016

    New course to train maids in elderly care

    FOR the next 45 Sundays or so starting on July 10, Cristina Ganancial Alvarez and 45 other maids will spend more than three hours learning how to better take care of the elderly.

    Part of a newly launched training course by the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast), the lessons will deal with topics such as heart attacks, how to manage aggressive seniors and how to properly carry an immobile person.

    The 165-hour course costs $120 after subsidies of about 75 per cent from Fast, although five of the maids were given scholarships.

    One of them is Ms Alvarez. The 41-year-old Filipina looks after a household of six, including her employer and his wife who are in their 60s.

    "They are still healthy... I want to be prepared because I want to work with them for a long time," she added.

    The training course - which will be conducted by Care Advisors Recruitment Enterprise (Care) and facilitated by a doctor, a physiotherapist and nurses - had places for 40 sign-ups but saw 70 applications.

    The next round of admission for about 50 places will open in September.

    Those who complete the course will receive a specialist certificate in home-based care-giving, certified by Fast, Care and the caregiver's embassy.

    Seah Seng Choon, president of non-government organisation Fast, said training maids in caregiving would benefit both the worker and employer.

    "To be able to age gracefully in the comfort of one's home is the hope of many Singaporeans... and it will enhance the well-being of (the) elderly at home when the

    caregiver is well-trained," he said yesterday at the launch at Fast's clubhouse in Raeburn Park.

    "Based on feedback we have received, many domestic helpers would also like to be better skilled in taking care of the elderly."

    Fast will also start holding monthly mediation service from next month for maids and employers to work out differences with the help of mediators at the Fast clubhouse.

    Fast receives an average of 166 calls a month, with about two in 10 being about employment issues such as termination or disputes over agency fees.

    Nearly half are about emotional support and adjustment difficulties. Appointments for mediation can be made by calling 6509-1535.