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Diversity in Caregiving Workshops Wrap Up

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It is with great pride that I share a few highlights of our diversity workshops held last weekend. Thanks to funding by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, we were able to bring many people from different cultures, religions and races together to celebrate the cultural similarities and diversities of family caregiving.

Canadians represent a variety of cultural norms and traditions that are accompanied by different values and beliefs about life, death and health. These traditions influence our views about health-care delivery and need to be part of our loved one’s care plan. It can be a challenge for most caregivers, whether they’re professional or family.

It was so rewarding to have so many caregivers participate in our diversity workshops and live webinar. Dr. Roohullah Shabon and CEO of the Agency for Assistance & Development of Afghanistan (www.aada.org.af) talked about how to care for the very ill and the importance to respect the culture of the dying. Nurse Jackie Hickey of Bayshore Home Health shared ideas about how to “care for caregivers” and Soraiya Walji, also of Bayshore Home Health gave us insights into how caregivers can manage in a new country and resources for support.

Diversity in Caregiving Speakers and Facilitator

Left to right: Soraiya Walji, Nurse Jackie Hickey, Dr. Roohullah Shabon and Tammy Cunningham

After our fun filled coffee break and visiting the table top displays, family caregivers shared their stories. Some shared stories of great joy, honour and family traditions. Some stories made us cry. Caregivers came from at least 21 cultures and 3 religions shared their stories. There was great compassion, understanding and respect shared by all. It is important to remember that caregiving is universal. All peoples care for their elders. This was an opportunity to allow us all to celebrate our caregiving similarities and the differences.

This was a major undertaking that exceeded expectations only because of our wonderful partners. They were:

  • Laura Arrizza, Jorge Rivera and Denise Drabkin from the Toronto Public Library. Their dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm were much appreciated. The Barbara Frum Branch was the perfect location for our workshop!
  • Vyry and Lolli were “super star volunteers”.
  • Special thanks to our facilitator Tammy Cunningham of The Mastery Workshops (www.themasteryworkshops.com), for keeping everything on track and creating a forum for family caregivers to safe and feel comfortable to share their stories.
  • Our technical support as always was amazing. Special thanks to Opal Gamble and Paul Sveda of Design & Develop (www.designanddevelop.ca).
  • Michael Kee from Keeframe Productions (www.keeframeproductions.com) and Chris Kata, one of our Board directors produced a fantastic webinar.
  • Kathy Kastner from Ability4Life (@KathyKastner, www.ability4life.com), tweeted the Toronto event under #hcsmca.

We exceeded our goal to bring family caregivers of diverse cultures, religions together to learn and share life experiences through story telling. It was a proud moment for our charity, and we plan to bring new and other exciting projects to family caregivers in the future.

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