Our team have been working throughout the summer to prepare for our new courses for dementia carers this autumn. Our launch campaign for Dementia Carers Count (DCCount) takes place this September and October as well as announcements about several new initiatives from our charity to share with you.
Our DCCount services are evidence based and delivered by a team of qualified professionals, including occupational therapists, a speech and language therapist and a clinical psychologist who have the experience and expertise to assess how best to respond to specific issues that individual carers raise. Learning is deeply embedded by applying proven adult learning techniques. Services are developed with the guidance of our Carers Advisory Panel and independently evaluated.
The core services that we provide are intensive 3 day/2 night residential courses in Swindon and Birmingham. They explore:
- How the brain works and how different dementias affect the person
- How to support the person with the challenges they face
- Understanding your own personality and how this may impact on your responses
- Your preferences in problem solving and developing a range of possible solutions and your ability to adapt to different situations
- Looking after yourself
- Building resilience
So far, our courses have been attended by husbands, wives, partners, daughters, sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren aged 18-80 years. Here’s some of the feedback we have received:
“I now have a greater understanding of what my mum is experiencing. I now have the skills to help support her better. I now have the understanding of me and my personality to make the whole process positive for everyone.”
“Other than being massively above my expectations in content and how both mine and F’s life will benefit from this course, I would like to thank the “team” with all my heart for going that extra mile with my own issues in addition to those of the other carers as a whole.”
We have seen over the months, that lots of tears are shed on the course; some from the sheer relief of being amongst people who truly understand what they are going through, others from pain, sadness and grief for their situation. The team ensure that each carer is held and supported through their tears. The other side of the emotional coin is also very important for developing our ability to cope – laughter is very much part of the whole experience – during ‘classroom’ sessions, mealtimes and during the downtime in the café and bar.
What happens after the dementia carer courses?
Our courses are all about building knowledge, confidence and resilience. We encourage participants to create their own support networks. Many have formed Facebook and WhatsApp groups where they can exchange ideas and words of encouragement to each other. One group has arranged a reunion back at the hotel and 14 of them attending.
Cost of the courses
As a charity we do not make a profit. We are fortunate to have reserves from the sale of the assets of our previous charity (we used to own care homes) to invest in the development and start-up costs of our new services. It costs the charity £650 per carer to deliver the course. We ask course participants to donate to the charity on completion of the course. This is known as ‘pay it forward’ which is a worldwide movement of people who are able to enabling others to benefit from the great experience that has helped them or, even transform, their lives. We’re inviting carers to join us in this
The warmth and welcome from the team and the energising and heart-warming comradery from the peer support comes free!
How else can DCCount help?
Our new initiatives reflect the needs of participants of our courses, who have told us that once they have got the foundations in place from our courses they want more bespoke support from us. We are now developing Individual Support Plans including:
- A basic well-being plan
- A specialised communication plan
- A specialised occupational plan
- A specialised psycho-social plan
- A combination of all of the above
We will also be developing one-day workshops to enable family carers to hone in on information and skills based learning.
Our commitment to evidence based family carer support
We are passionate about evidence based services so we have teamed up with the Association of Dementia Studies at University of Worcester to create the DCCount Professor of Family Care in Dementia focusing exclusively on the experiences, needs and outcomes for dementia carers. We have made the appointment and soon we’ll be announcing the name of the post-holder.
Our team welcome your questions about our courses and individual support plans and can be reached by phone on 0790 909 0987 or our office number 020 3096 7895 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org
Please help us to reach as many dementia carers as possible by spreading the word about the support that we provide.
Claire Goodchild, CEO, Dementia Carers Count