Young-onset dementia carer support course: how to survive & thrive

Rhys Hughes
August 5, 2021
October 30, 2021

Each of our three-day courses has been designed for friends and family members taking care of someone living with dementia. Our courses have a strong focus on how you can build on and develop your own resilience, in order to help increase your well-being and confidence in your caring role.

Our young-onset dementia course is designed for friends and family of people who have been diagnosed with dementia under the age of 65 years. On this course you’ll learn about some of the rarer types of dementia that are more common in younger people, for example, Frontotemporal dementia and Posterior cortical atrophy (PCA). You’ll have the opportunity to learn more about how these different types of dementia affect the brain and the person’s behaviour in a supportive environment with people in a similar situation.

Our healthcare professionals will explore with you the different ways you can support the person you are caring for, for example by making small adaptations to your behaviour and/or the physical and social environment. There will also be a strong focus on how you can build on and develop your own resilience, in order to help increase your well-being and confidence in your caring role.

This course is for you if:

you are helping to support a friend or family who is living with young-onset dementia

you would like to gain a better understanding of your friend or family member and how you can support them

you would like to learn about the different types of dementia that affect younger people and how they can affect the brain

you would like to learn about your own personality and how it comes into play when you’re caring for others and managing challenging situations

you are ready to take some time for yourself to drop your shoulders, let our healthcare professionals take care of you, and learn how to look after yourself when looking after others

you would like to learn strategies for maintaining your wellbeing and building your resilience

you want to spend time with experienced healthcare professionals who will answer your questions in a safe, supportive environment

you’d like to meet other people who are taking care of a friend or family member with young-onset dementia in a similar situation

Course outline

Day one

The course begins at 11.15 am although we encourage you to arrive a little earlier to meet the course tutors and other people on the course informally for coffee or tea.

Once we get started, we will all go into the training room together and get settled in.  You will be invited to sit at round tables with a few other people. There will be drinks of water and squash on the table (and sweets if you’re lucky!), and you can just help yourself to them whenever you want. We have a nice, comfortable start to the morning where the main aim is to relax you and put your mind at rest as we get to know each other. For example, we always tell people that although you will be given lots of opportunities to speak about your experiences and reflections, you will not be pressurised into speaking up if you don’t want to. There will definitely not be any role play during the three days so hopefully that will put your mind at rest.

You will be given a lovely hot meal at lunchtime (please let us know in advance if you have any dietary requirements). In the afternoon you will be told about your rights as someone taking care of a person with dementia and the benefits you are entitled to. The final session of the day is a really interesting look at personality and how understanding more about ourselves and the people who are close to us helps us to feel more resilient and develop strategies to cope with our day-to-day lives.

We end the day at about 5.00 pm, and then meet again for dinner in the hotel at 7:00 pm allowing a couple of hours for you to relax, phone home and enjoy some personal time. Most people enjoy having dinner all together so you can talk and get to know each other better. However, we know that sometimes what people want is some time alone so if you would prefer to order room-service and eat in your room that’s completely fine with us.

Day two

Breakfast is served from 7.30 am onwards and we start the teaching again at 9.00 am.

The first session of the morning is about resilience. We will start to look at what this is and how you can start building your resilience, whilst caring for someone with dementia. You will learn about the ‘inner critical voice’ that many of us have, and how to start being kinder to yourself. We’re told that this session really helps participants to begin to see that they can make some positive changes to their lives, even when they are experiencing a lot of stress.

Lunch tends to be soup and sandwiches on day two.

We learn lots about the brain on day two. This deepens understanding of dementia and we always get told how this triggers real light bulb moments for people – making them feel that they now can make more sense of what is going on. Throughout the day, you will have some great, interactive sessions about understanding dementia and how to respond when the behaviour of the person you are caring for is changing. These sessions will demonstrate in clear and interesting ways that there are some things that might help. You will also be given an opportunity to be a part of a coaching group where we all get together and decide on an issue that we would like to explore and be ‘coached through’ to see if there are other ways to approach the situation that might be beneficial. We’re consistently told that attendees feel empowered by the end of day two!

Again, we aim to finish at 5.00 pm and dinner will be served at 7.00 pm.

Day three

Breakfast is served from 7.30 am onwards and we start the teaching again at 9.00 am.

The last day of the course is mostly focused on building your resilience. You will have a session on how to look after yourself through your caring experience. Then, we have a session about mindfulness, which is a great tool for helping you manage stress and to feel differently about whatever is going on in your life right now.

You will then have another coaching group which is a great opportunity to learn and develop your own problem-solving skills.

You will be served a hot lunch on day three, and then we give you a chance to re-visit any parts of the course that you may still have some questions or are puzzled about. We finish the day with a short, fun resilience-building exercise to send you on your way! The last session on day three ends at 3.30 pm.

It’s a packed programme but we guarantee you will have plenty of breaks and we build in lots of time to discuss all the teaching with the other people on the course which we know is important for you.

The presentations are delivered by experienced professionals with backgrounds in Clinical Psychology; Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy. All our facilitators are engaging and interesting speakers who bring their subjects to life.

If this all sounds a bit daunting please be reassured that we make every attempt to make sure you are relaxed and comfortable. We firmly believe that there is no such thing as a stupid question and we hope that this will be a safe place where you can find out the information that you really want to know, so you can feel more confident and resilient as you move forward.

As a charity we do not make a profit. It costs us £650 per person to deliver the course, including food and accommodation. We do not want anyone to be excluded from our services so we are not charging a fee for our courses. Therefore, we invite course participants (or their employers) to donate to the charity on completion of the course, if they are able to. A donation of £5 pays for a coffee break for a carer, £15 pays for a carer’s lunch and £300 pays for an expert course facilitator for a day. All donations, big or small, make such a difference.

Donation forms will be provided at our courses. You can also donate using the donate button at the top right corner of this web page.

Young-onset dementia carer support course: how to survive & thrive
three day courses