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    Cartago Keeps Alive it’s Commitments as Costa Rica’s First Compassionate City

    To serve as a stimulus for other communities that have also decided to take on the challenge

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    Certified as the First Compassionate City in October 2023, Cartago continues to support people in palliative care or who are at the end of life and their families, while also enthusing other cities in the province and the country.

    Enriching space

    “Thank you very much for this enriching space; it is going to be very useful for me in the management of my mom. When she got sick I was terrified, but this activity will help me in my personal care and hers”, commented one of the participants in the workshop ‘Self-care for caregivers from occupational therapy’.

    The activity took place within the framework of the project Cartago con Vos, Ciudad Compasiva, led by the Fundación Partir con Dignidad and Coopenae, with the support of the Program for the Elderly from the Municipality of Cartago.

    In the central canton of Cartago there is intense work to keep alive the commitment of being the first Compassionate City not only in Costa Rica but also in Central and North America and the Caribbean, and to serve as a stimulus for other communities that have also decided to take on the challenge.

    Support, awareness and training activities are being carried out; alliances are being sought and agreements are being signed with higher education centers and other organizations that want to collaborate to make Costa Rica the first compassionate country in the world.

    Other cantons and towns in the province of Cartago

    Meanwhile, and with the technical and methodological advice of the Spanish New Health Foundation, other cantons and towns in the province of Cartago have begun to prepare a diagnosis that identifies the needs in palliative care, the key actors in the institutional and community fabric, as well as the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to respond to the challenge.

    With this objective and a defined schedule, the cantons of Oreamuno, Turrialba, the district of Tucurrique, San Rafael de Heredia and Curridabat have joined the process.

    Meanwhile, the Municipality of Santo Domingo de Heredia unanimously agreed to endorse the project for that canton and the mayors of Upala, Guatuso and Los Chiles are also interested in joining the initiative.

    Working with caregivers

    Since in a compassionate city it is as important to relieve the terminally ill person as it is to protect the physical and mental health of the family nucleus that cares for him or her, significant training and support activities have taken place in recent weeks.

    For example, the workshop “Self-care for caregivers through occupational therapy” included six sessions, conducted by occupational therapist SofíaCamarenoNúñez, between March and May. “The education of caregivers is fundamental for their physical and mental health,” said the specialist.

    Her eleven years of experience led to specialize in issues related to geriatrics and gerontology. “I am passionate about working with people and accompanying their families and caregivers with a focus on prevention and active and healthy aging, enhancing present skills to achieve the maximum level of independence and autonomy.”

    Forty-seven people were trained in topics such as occupational balance, relaxation techniques and stimulating routines at home for the palliative care patient.And due to the excellent reception shown by caregivers, the virtual space called “Caregivers in balance” has been maintained month after month. Psychologist Aura Loría, who is also a psychopedagogist and neurolinguistic programmer, currently acts as moderator.

    One of the participants, Jenny Loaiza, who has been in the group for a year, says that sharing with other caregivers helps her understand and cope better. “Sometimes you feel very alone and here I have companions in situations similar to mine and even worse.”

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