A total of 231 domestic workers have graduated from a five-month course designed to help deal with a shortage of workers well trained in taking care of Hong Kong’s elderly.

The course was taught by registered nurses, focusing on how to feed elderly people, help them walk, and administer first aid including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, among other skills, Oriental Daily reported.

The course fee was HK$2,200 (US$280).

According to the manager of the company that provided the course, domestic workers with experience in caring for the elderly could earn HK$5,000 to HK$7,000 per month. The standard salary for a domestic worker in Hong Kong is HK$4,410. 

A 36-year-old Filipino caregiver named Anton Casim, who is working for a 76-year-old man, enrolled in the course at her own cost as she wanted to learn new skills.

She said now she applied the skills she had learned daily. When she goes to a restaurant with her employer, she knows how to move him from a wheelchair without hurting either the old man or herself.

Casim’s employer was very happy to know that she had enrolled in the course to learn new skills. She said she was hoping for an increment in her salary in the next employment contract.

Another domestic worker named April, 31, who has been taking care of a woman who is now 89 for six years, saw the old woman’s health deteriorate as she suffered from dementia, Sing Pao reported. After attending the course, April is now equipped with more skills to take care of the old woman and handle her emotional distress.

The manager of the company that provided the course said some graduates would apply for jobs in countries such as Canada that pay better than Hong Kong for skilled caregivers.