UH Manoa Center on Aging Receives $68,000 Award for Training Program on the Big Island

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Jim Manke, (808) 956-6106
External Affairs & University Relations
Kristen Cabral, (808) 956-5039
Public Information Officer
Posted: Apr 15, 2002

The Center on Aging at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has been awarded $68,000 to develop a curriculum and to train paraprofessionals in the field of aging on the Big Island.

Research data indicate that most paraprofessionals are middle-aged, minority women, who are employed as home aides, home attendants, home health aides, and personal care workers. Paraprofessionals make up the backbone of home care. They provide as much as 80 percent of personal care for the frail elderly and disabled living at home.

According to Dr. Michael Cheang, curriculum developer and trainer for the project, "the caring that these paraprofessionals do is a very demanding form of work that is physically, emotionally, and morally challenging.

"The responsibilities are heavy, and yet these hardworking individuals are often the least skilled, lowest paid, and sometimes under-appreciated workers in the long-term care industry," Cheang said. "If we truly believe in providing quality care for our elders, then we need to commit to having better informed and trained paraprofessionals. In doing so, we not only help improve the well-being of elders in their homes, but we also increase the work satisfaction of the paraprofessionals who provide the care."

Training will be conducted four times in 2002 at various sites on the Big Island. The curriculum includes five modules: 1) background information on the aging process; 2) health and wellness; 3) Understanding disease and disability; 4) basic caregiving skills; and 5) dying, death, and bereavement.

The Center on Aging was established in 1988 at UH Mānoa to stimulate and coordinate gerontological and aging instruction, research, and community services, as well as to promote collaboration between the University and other organizations concerned with aging. For more information about the training program, call the Center on Aging at (808) 956-5001.