By Sharon Marshall
Jamie Hinds was searching through the UWI Cave Hill Scholarship list when she came across the BARP Charitable Trust Scholarship and determined this was the scholarship that best fit her degree focus. So she applied and emerged the 2019 winner.
The BARP Charitable Trust Scholarship is valued at BDS $10,000, and is awarded annually to nationals of Barbados pursuing full-time, post-graduate programmes at the University of the West Indies (UWI) relating to ageing. This award assists in covering the cost of books, materials and tuition.
Jamie says, “This has given me the possibility to commence my studies, as I had made the decision to pursue my Master degree that year. I wasn’t prepared financially, so I decided to apply for a scholarship. It brought great relief when I realized that I was a recipient as it helped me to focus solely on my studies, not finances.”
She had already earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Ecology from the UWI St. Augustine Campus in 2007. Her concentration then was in Nutrition and Dietetics.
The saying that “it takes a village to raise a child” might be cliché for some, but Jamie credits a number of persons with having had an influence on the person she's become: “Firstly, my great-grandmother Myrtle Peters, that raised me, who had a major influence on my character. My teachers at the Lodge School and a few God-sent persons who assisted me from my church family.”
“I always wanted to be an educator,” Jamie confesses. “However, as I went through secondary school my occupational goals changed from chef or hotel manager, then to nutritionist or food technologist after CAPE studies in Food & Nutrition.”
She pursued a Masters of Public Health at UWI Cave Hill, thanks to the scholarship from BARP. In an update to the BARP Charitable Trust at the end of her first semester, Jamie reported that, “Semester one was a challenging, but fruitful. I gained insight into many areas that filled my knowledge gaps and widened my interest in health promotion. Though, research had not officially started, I sought to focus on diabetes and aging wherever I could. Courses such as Social and Behavioural Science and Research Methods assisted greatly in this effort. I am pleased to report that I have successfully passed all courses.” Other courses were Biostatistics, Epidemiology I, Family Health I, Environmental Health, and Qualitative Research Methods.
Jamie has now completed the course work and research phases of her Masters studies. Her research topic was, “The perceived role of social support in self-management of Type 2 diabetes among Barbadians sixty-five years and older before and during the COVID-19 pandemic”. Jamie tells us that, “I wanted to focus on persons living with Type 2 diabetes mellitus in Barbados and with the BARP focus of the elderly, along with the influence of my great-grandmother, I decided to join that focus. My supervisor, Dr. Heather Harewood, contributed in guiding the final topic.”
The rationale for Jamie’s research demonstrates just how relevant the work is, and states in part:
In Barbados, the prevalence of diabetes has risen from 14.1% in 2016 to 17.8% in 2019. Type 2 diabetes is a growing problem among the elderly: the proportion of diabetics has risen from 10.2% in 2013 to up to 13.57% in 2019. Furthermore, in Barbados there has been an increase in the proportion of elderly persons as well as in the occurrence of diabetes-related complications within that sub-population.
The aim of the research was to examine the perceived role of social support in Type 2 diabetes management among Barbadians aged 65 years and over; and to explore participants’ perspectives on how a major external shock (COVID-19) can influence the perceived relationship between social support and diabetes self-management.
Participants were recruited from facilities offering services to persons with diabetes generally and for the elderly in particular, in the NGO sector and from public polyclinics. Interviews were conducted via telephone due to COVID-19 related issues.
While we look forward to receiving her final report on this research, it’s pretty reasonable to assume that Jamie will continue to be engaged in some aspect of this area after she graduates. She says, “I love Health Promotion and endeavour to work with organizations that seek to improve the health of our society throughout the life course.”
By Sharon Marshall
In 2013, Juliet Cumberbatch graduated from the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) with a Bachelor of Social Work – Second Class Honours (Upper Division).
That year, she was able to participate in a research practicum at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, and serve as a social work intern as part of the Winter Programme of the Faculty of Social Work. She was able to observe and document multiagency collaboration. She was exposed to and documented community development practice, and honed her research skills.
Juliet’s stated social work objective is, “To contribute to the social work practice and research of enhancing person(s) in environment and to develop competencies in the specialized social work area of older adults with a view to impact policies and intergenerational programming through research, writings and advocacy.”
In 2016, she won the BARP Charitable Trust Scholarship. The scholarship is valued at BDS $10,000, and is awarded annually to nationals of Barbados pursuing full-time, post-graduate programmes at the UWI relating to ageing. The award is intended to assist in covering the cost of books, materials and tuition. It enabled Juliet to meet her objective “to contribute to social work practice and research”.
Juliet graduated from UWI Cave Hill in 2019 with an MPhil in Social Work. Her concentration: Ageing/Elderly/Family/Informal Care-giving.
She shared her research findings with members of the Board of Trustees of the BARP Charitable Trust during a presentation in November 2020. Her presentation was entitled, “Family Care-giving in Barbados: Impacts and Experiences of Caregivers in the Parishes of St. Lucy and St. James”. There were 34 family and informal caregivers involved in the research project, and there were 38 male and female care recipients.
By way of background, Juliet explained that Barbados leads the list of English-speaking Caribbean countries with the highest percentage of persons over 60 years old.
Juliet stated that, “Traditionally, in Barbados, families provided care for their elderly relatives at home. Longevity and varying degrees of dependency of these older adults have placed added burden on these families.”
According to her research, care-giving is taking place within an environment where primary y care-givers also aging, family structures appear more diverse and smaller, and one in which formal systems are perceived as slow and reactionary and state policies are inadequate.
She found that in St. Lucy, most care recipients had some degree of mobility but a high level of mental decline, while in St. James many lacked physical functioning, but had good mental capacities. All of them needed help with personal daily living, and displayed varying personality changes. Most were spiritually/religiously oriented.
Her findings indicate that women bear the brunt of care-giving. Most care-givers and recipients are women. Juliet found that some women leave their jobs early or reduce job hours in order to care for elderly relatives. This results in less fewer job opportunities for them, an ultimately affects their pensions. Some of them remain unemployed, and this creates a path of situational poverty as they age, and perhaps become dependent themselves.
She is recommending a neo-liberal policy that adopts care-giving as work, which would allow care givers to access the benefits of workers under the various work related legislation. Even though many family care-givers have their own personal motivations for providing care, some are not employed in the formal workforce and do not have access to employment benefits. Care as work can also open the door for others to get involved in care-giving.
Juliet is advocating for State policy which also treats care in a manner consistent with other occupations. Policies that would benefit care-givers should cover respite care, short-term facilities, reduced medical expenses, education, and housing/tax subsidies. She suggests financial benefits/grants/stipends for care-givers, as well as private sector corporate contributions and labour re-entry opportunities and training. These policies would also include elder advocacy and protection.
Juliet noted that the findings of her research cannot be generalised to the whole related population in Barbados, but she hopes to be able to expand her research from just two rural parishes to encompass the whole of Barbados.
By Sharon Marshall
At 6’ 4” and 253 pounds, Wasim Worrell might be mistaken for a police officer. In fact, when he was growing up in Walkers, St. Andrew, that’s just what his grandmother Beryl Dean Roachford wanted him to become – to be precise, a police sergeant. He says, “I was told that when I was young, she used to pull me and shake me and do all these things that they do. And she would always say, ‘He is going to be the biggest police sergeant in St. Andrew.’ Then when I was a teenager coming home from parties, she would wait until I got home and would say, ‘Your food is there; your cou cou is there.’ She was one of those older folks that liked to see that you’ve eaten all the food.”
But Wasim is a nurse, a profession which the 45-year-old young man has been following for more than 25 years. He believes that it was the close, caring relationship that he had with his grandmother that led him to this vocation. “My grandmother would come and tell me, ‘Go and look for my shoes’, and I would have to crawl under the bed and get the shoes”, he reveals. “And as I grew up, I would read the Bible to her, and walk her down to church. I used to give my grandmother baths and powder under her breasts, and put on her bra and all that. And it was something natural for me; there was nothing strange about it.”
In 1994, he began working at the Psychiatric Hospital, quite by chance. His sister was employed in the administration there and told him that the hospital was recruiting males. He applied and was successful. “I loved it!”, he reminisces. Around 2000, representatives of hospitals in the United Kingdom came to Barbados to recruit nurses. Wasim was attracted by the fact that one of them offered training. He left for London and was able to pursue a Masters’ degree in Health and Social Policy at City University London. While there, Wasim worked part-time at a nursing home to help pay for his courses. He also got a lot of experience working in forensic units and in prisons. “I thought that they learned a lot from us as well, the cultural aspect of nursing”, he says. “In some of the hospitals in London there were a lot of clients from Caribbean backgrounds, but they were not being nursed by their own, so to speak.” The hospital that he worked at in East London was able to see great improvement in some of the more “troublesome” patients. “Suddenly we were sharing Caribbean music and Caribbean food. It was really tremendous to see how a lot of these patients responded to us in a positive way”, he recalls.
On his return to Barbados in 2007, Wasim worked in HIV care, and had a stint at the Ministry of Health. About three years ago, he applied to the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, to study for an MPhil in Sociology. His area of research is how culture impacts on males’ decision to practice nursing, and the stigma associated with it. He shares that, “I pushed that research further to see how men feel working with the elderly. One young man told me that his father said, ‘I didn’t send you to school to be a nurse. That is women’s work.’ I also wanted to see how activities can help the residents feel more comfortable and cause them to be more engaged in the care provided within the nursing home.” Wasim says a lot of men care for their mothers and grandmothers, but it’s something that is not often highlighted. “If we get more men involved in the care of the elderly, I think that’s another problem being solved in Barbados, where we have a shortage of nurses.” He’s following a group of ten males, recording their experiences at the Geriatric Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Psychiatric Hospital. “My research is ethnographic”, he explains. “So as a participant-observer, I have to be there with them at night. When I go to the Geriatric Hospital, I actually engage in whatever they’re doing at the time, so that I get first-hand knowledge of how they go about doing things.”
Wasim almost didn’t reach this point in his academic career. He explains, “I started this process, and it was around the time when the course wasn’t funded by Government. I had registered, and had paid the amenities fee, that was it. I started the first year, and then I was barred from registering for certain courses. I was getting letters from the university that, ‘You are so much in arrears’, ‘Your account is not up to date’. But God opens doors for us. I went to the Graduate Studies office to ask if there were any scholarships or grants available. A lady there said, ‘You missed your opportunity, the other scholarships are already closed.’ Then she said, ‘You know what? There is one. There is the BARP Charitable Trust UWI Scholarship; I think you can apply for that.’ I applied, but I wasn’t sure that I would be successful. When it came back that I was successful, I was just over the moon. It was like I had won the lottery. I’m really, really grateful.” He was awarded the BARP scholarship award in 2017/18 to pursue a Masters’ degree in Sociology. He began his final year studies in September of 2018, but was awarded an additional scholarship in 2019 to complete doctoral studies.
The scholarship is open to Barbadian graduate students undertaking full-time studies researching any issue dealing with aging. It’s valued at $10,000 for a period of one year, and is tenable at the UWI. Because of these funds, Wasim says, “I knew that I could actually continue with the course. It came in right on time. What I’m basically saying is, if it had not been for the BARP Scholarship I would not be at this stage today. When you’ve received something, it is your duty now to make sure that you do your part in terms of putting in all the hard work, doing what you have to do, making sure that you’re successful. Now that you have the backing of someone, you don’t want to disappoint them. You want to make sure that you do quality work.”
Wasim also volunteers at a private nursing home, leading activities for the residents – playing dominoes, taking them for walks, making jokes with them. The staff have remarked that the residents’ faces light up when he’s around, and family members have complimented him as well. The fondness is mutual, as Wasim explains, “I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that when I’m away from the home, how I miss some of the older folks. I like some of the things that they say, their humour, the old-time stories of Barbados. They’ve given so much to Barbados, that in the evening of their years, they should feel safe.”
Wasim is looking forward to sharing his research, and is hopeful that it will have a positive impact on the care of the elderly, and also encourage more young men to take up nursing. “I think it is quite rich in some of the stories that I’ve been told, some of the things that I’ve witnessed”, he says. “If we can get more men caring and more involved in looking after the elderly, whether they are in the profession of nursing, or if they assist in the care of their elderly who may be suffering from Alzheimer’s or whatever, that would be a great thing.”
11 November 2019
BARP TRUST AWARDS TWO POST-GRADUATE SCHOLARSHIPS
Two Barbadians are currently pursuing post-graduate studies at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) with assistance from the BARP Charitable Trust.
The Trust offers an annual scholarship valued at BDS$10,000 to Barbadian students pursuing full-time post-graduate studies related to ageing at the UWI. Jamie Hinds is the recipient of the 2019 scholarship. She is pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Health, and the objective of her research is to determine common sociological issues related to the elderly and diabetes self-management. Ms. Hinds earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Ecology with a concentration in Nutrition and Dietetics from the UWI St. Augustine Campus in 2007.
This year, Wasim Worrell was also awarded a scholarship of BDS$10,000 to complete doctoral studies. He previously received the BARP scholarship award in 2017/18 to pursue a Masters’ degree in Sociology, but based on his progress, approval was granted to upgrade to the Ph.D. programme. Mr. Worrell – a nurse by profession – earned a Masters’ degree in Health and Social Policy at City University London. His doctoral research area is how culture impacts on males’ decision to practice nursing, and the stigma associated with it.
Chairman of the Trust, Justice Elneth Kentish, says, “We are delighted to be able to award these scholarships this year to two very worthy candidates. With projections that by 2050 between 25 and 33 percent of the Barbados population will be aged 65 and over, it is imperative that we support research in studies relating to the elderly so that appropriate policies can be implemented.”
She pointed out that it is an area which should be of particular interest to businesses in Barbados, since an aging population offers economic opportunities. She added that the benefits of the “longevity economy” are well recognised in more developed countries.
Justice Kentish urged corporate entities and individuals to support the work of the Trust by making financial donations that would enable it to provide more scholarships, noting that such donations are tax-deductible.
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Contact: Sharon Marshall