Tenrikyo Home Care Workers Association convened its second study meeting on August 24, drawing some 60 Yoboku (timber for building the Joyous Life) who are involved in home nursing care. The event, held in East Left Wing 3 of the Oyasato-yakata building-complex, provided the participants with an opportunity to learn how they should practice home nursing care while at the same time serving in their role as Yoboku. The meeting came at a time when there had been worrying incidents involving caregivers abusing the elderly and when it is increasingly being recognized that, with the aging of society, there will be ever growing demands for home care workers in Japan.
The participants first heard a lecture by Dr. Go Tomonaga, head of Tomonaga Cardiovascular Clinic, who spoke about “Welfare as Viewed from a Medical Perspective,” followed by a lecture by Head Minister Yukiko Hosoya of Ishinodai Branch Church, who discussed the role of home care workers in relation to the path. Later, Mr. Yoshinori Oyanagi, teacher at the Nursing Care Department of Tenri High School’s Evening Course, led a workshop on the use of play to support rehabilitation.
A panel discussion, which followed, addressed the theme: “What is expected of home care workers who are followers of the path?” Rev. Hosoya and Mr. Oyanagi were joined by two other panelists: Director Seiichi Takahashi of Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital’s Home Healthcare Center and Rev. Yoshiaki Okada, president of Tenrikyo Home Care Workers Association.
Rev. Okada, who also serves as a church head minister besides managing Yoki, an organization that provides home care workers, emphasized that the teachings of Oyasama could support the work of Yoboku home care workers in a substantial way. He said that, most crucially, the teachings could enable them to maintain an attitude that says, “Please allow me to help you,” as opposed to–as might often be the case–slipping into a condescending attitude toward their clients. Also important, he said, was that they could pray for the well-being of their clients, although the Sazuke, the Divine Grant, could not be administered as part of their professional services.
Rev. Hosoya, who heads an association of home care instructors in Shizuoka Prefecture, stressed the importance of maintaining a frame of mind that allows a smile to come to one’s lips. She said that, if home care workers were happy and high-spirited, whoever they were working with would also begin to feel that way. The workers, she said, could then be naturally sprinkling the fragrance of the teaching, which would benefit their clients.
Mr. Takahashi, for his part, encouraged the audience to make it a top priority to help their clients find joy in life, while empathizing with their difficulties, whether it be the inability to speak or move their hands.