Below are some of our frequently asked questions organised into categories. If you have a question that is not covered here, please get in touch and we will respond to you as soon as we can.
Is there a real need for DCC’s services?
Before developing our services, we commissioned an independent consultation that involved 300 dementia carers completing an online survey and a further 53 carers participating in five focus groups.
57% of the survey respondents said they would visit the Dementia Carers Centre. This equates to 383,173 dementia carers in the UK. When the centre was described to them, 31% of the survey respondents said they would travel anywhere in the UK to visit the centre equating to 207,700 carers.
Over 300 participants have attended our three-day residential courses to date and we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from them about the quality of the content and how life-changing it can be. Worcester University carried out an independent evaluation of the effectiveness of our three-day courses, you can read the results here.
Where will the Dementia Carers Centre be?
We are currently appraising and finalising our options but it is likely to be located fairly centrally in England within 20 minutes’ drive of motorway and close to Birmingham. We’ll start with one centre and plan to develop more regional centres over the next ten years. Read more about our plans in our annual review.
When will the Centre open?
We are aiming to open our flagship Dementia Carers Centre in 2022 and will keep all interested parties updated on this timeline. To stay up to date with news on our Dementia Carers Centre, courses and the events we’re exhibiting at, join our mailing list.
How are DCC services being funded?
We are lucky that the charity DCC developed from gave us a financial basis to pilot our courses in the short term. After successfully piloting our courses, from January 2020 there will be a nominal charge of £199 per attendee to cover accommodation and meals. This contribution to the course costs enables our services to be sustainable going forwards. (It costs us £650 per carer to deliver a residential course including food and accommodation.) Our courses should be accessible to all, if you are unable to pay this contribution and would like to know more about bursary options please contact us by phone or email, or take a look at our page about other ways of funding your place.
What makes someone a carer?
Often, family carers of people with dementia don’t define themselves as a carer. According to our definition, you are a carer if, “your friend or family member needs your help and support to live well with dementia; regardless of whether you live with them or not.”
Is there any help with finding or funding respite care to enable me to attend DCC courses?
We regularly receive enquiries asking this question and the answer is sadly no. We appreciate that many people need high quality alternative care arrangements in order to be able to step away from their own caring role to access support and respite for themselves. However, our charitable resources can only be used to directly support family carers so regrettably we are unable to offer any financial assistance to help with alternative care arrangements.
We are committed in the longer term to look for avenues of funding to support carers to attend our programmes and to lobby for carers’ needs to be better understood and met. We are always keen to hear about the issues that prevent carers from accessing support for themselves and welcome carers’ communication with us about this.
What if we don’t have a diagnosis yet?
You are eligible to attend one of our courses without a formal diagnosis, as long as your relative or friend is experiencing cognitive changes and/or difficulties. Previous course attendees have included individuals with family members or friends who are undergoing assessments and have not yet obtained a formal diagnosis, as well as those who are yet to begin any assessment procedures.
According to our definition, you are a carer if, “your friend or family member needs your help and support to live well with dementia; regardless of whether you live with them or not.”
My relative lives in a care home, am I eligible to attend your course?
Yes, you are. We recognise that people whose relative/friend is now in residential care may face slightly different issues, therefore we run a course specifically for this group of carers called ‘Home to Home’.
Am I a carer? I work full time but pop in to see my parents every week, am I eligible to attend?
Yes you are. We acknowledge that many carers do not actually live with the person they are caring for, and may not see them everyday, but are still classed as carers. Find out more about our courses and book your spot here.
My family members also care for the person with dementia, will they be eligible to attend?
Yes, our courses are open to anybody who is supporting somebody living with dementia in a caring role. In the past, we have had many relatives attend both together and separately on our courses, including husband and wife, daughter and granddaughter and sister and daughter who are caring for the same individual. You may wish to attend the course together, particularly if you feel that having another relative with you would be supportive. Alternatively, there are benefits of attending separate courses, for example in terms of allowing one of you to stay with the person living with dementia.
I help to care for someone who has dementia, but I am not a relative, can I still attend?
Yes, you can. Our courses are for anyone who is caring for a person living with dementia, including friends as well as family members.
Do I need to know anything about dementia before I come?
No. People with a very wide range of experience and knowledge have attended our courses. We value each individual’s views and experiences, which are welcomed throughout the course during our teaching sessions and discussion groups.
Can I attend if I am a paid care worker?
Our courses for family carers are designed specifically for family and friends or people with dementia however we do understand that sometimes attending as a professional can be useful. It will enable you to recommend our courses to family and friends of people with dementia that you support, and to find out more about how carers feel about the issues that they face with different types of dementia. There is a cost associated with attending our courses as a professional, you can find more information here.
I know different communities have different understandings of dementia and caregiving and dementia-related needs. How do you address this on your courses?
Our courses are open to people from all different communities and we have had many attendees from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities attend our courses. We encourage everyone to share their experiences and views on dementia and caregiving with the rest of the group if they feel comfortable. We are also in the process of developing an advisory panel on diversity (including experts by lived experience, specialist practitioners and academics) to inform and guide our future work with different communities to greater meet their needs.
English is not my first language, will there be any help available to me? Can I bring my own interpreter?
We don’t currently provide interpreters on our courses, however, you are welcome to bring your own. We will be working together with our diversity advisory panel in the near future in order to develop opportunities to meet the language needs of those attendees for whom English is not their first language.
I am hard of hearing – can you offer any support for this during the course?
We are currently exploring options to install a hearing loop at the venue where we carry out our courses, The Eaton Hotel in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
I’m a male carer, will there be other men on the course?
We usually have a mix of both male and females on our courses, although there tends to be a higher ratio of women to men. If you were the only male registered to attend a specific course, we’ll discuss this with you to ensure you are attending a course that meets your needs.
Who runs/teaches on the course?
Our services are run by experienced health and social care professionals who are governed by a code of ethics and commitment to competence, integrity and the promotion of wellbeing. We have qualified Clinical Psychologists, Coaches, Occupational therapists and Speech and Language Therapists. Not all these staff will be at each course, but each is delivered by a combination of two or three of these people.
Do I need to do any background reading?
We encourage you to read the pre-course information pack which will be sent to you before the course starts. This tells you more about the staff who will be at the course, the venue and the timings of the course. We don’t expect you to have read anything else before you come to the course – people attend the courses with a range of knowledge and experience and we don’t expect any prior knowledge.
I am not used to sitting in ‘classroom’, will I be able to manage?
Our staff are used to working with people who may not have sat in a classroom for many years. Teaching is provided in small bite-sized pieces followed by discussion groups. This is based on research into the most effective way adults learn. You are free to move around as much as you need to and we take regular breaks.
Will I have to complete any coursework?
No, there is no ‘homework’ or ‘coursework’. We do signpost you to additional resources should you wish to continue to read and explore the subjects after you leave but this is purely your choice.
On the course, will I be made to talk in front of a group?
We can reassure you that you will not be expected to say or do anything you don’t feel comfortable with. Some people are naturally more chatty and confident than others, so whether you prefer to take a back seat, observe and soak it all in, or whether you are happy to interact and talk more in groups, we make every effort to help you feel relaxed and settled. In the evenings we invite you to eat together and most people enjoy this time to socialise. However, being away from home and being on a course can feel taxing and it’s important that you have time to reflect and recharge your batteries. If you prefer to spend your evenings alone and order room service that’s fine too. This course is your time, your space; and the most important thing is that you feel comfortable so you can get as much out of the three days as possible.
What is resilience?
Resilience is the way we cope with stress and adversity in life. By learning new ways of thinking, behaving and interacting with others, we develop ways to cope even when life is tough. Our services provide the opportunity to find new ways of developing your resilience.
Why are some courses three days long?
This allows you to spend time with others who will understand and empathise with what you are going through; over the three days you can gradually drop your shoulders and relax whilst learning and recharging your batteries. By spending this amount of time together, many people go on and stay in touch with the other course participants – new friendships are made and this is an additional source of support for attendees long after the course has finished.
Why is it a three-day residential course?
This allows you to spend time with others who will understand and empathise with what you are going through; over the three days, you can gradually drop your shoulders and relax whilst learning and recharging your batteries. By spending this amount of time together, many people go on and stay in touch with other carers they have met, new friendships are made and we are thrilled that these new friendships seem to be an additional source of support for attendees long after the course has finished! If you’d like to get to know us before committing to a three-day course, come on one of our one day courses.
I have already attended courses on dementia, how is this different
This course gives a good foundation understanding of dementia. It also provides opportunities to explore ways to address some of the changes in the abilities and behaviours of a person with dementia. However, our courses are unique as we focus on your responses to the behaviours of the person you care for. How you can cope with the changes and ways to build your resilience and personal well-being whilst looking after someone with dementia.
Can I choose which sessions I attend
The course is designed developmentally. This means that each session has important information for the next session. Whilst everything you do at these courses is entirely your choice and we don’t make you attend, we would encourage you to attend all sessions to get the most out of the course.
I feel really stressed at the moment. How can this course help me?
We understand that just thinking about coming on one of our courses can be extremely daunting. Every person we’ve met has a unique situation and may be facing a range of challenges. We recognise that you are an individual and you’re likely to be experiencing a variety of emotions. Some of the feelings people have when they first arrive on our courses are: sadness, anger, numbness, guilt, worry, shyness, insecurity, fear, desperation and shame. On the other hand, sometimes people also tell us that they feel relief, excitement, reflective and liberated. All of these feelings are completely normal. We endeavour to create an atmosphere of acceptance and warmth and will not judge you for any emotions you are feeling, as they are all valid. We believe this course can really help you to cope in the future.
I feel guilty devoting this time to me, why should I?
We believe that if you can look after yourself you are better able to help the person you care for. We often say it is similar to the advice you are given in the safety talk when you board an aeroplane – if there is a problem with the plane – put your oxygen mask on first, otherwise you won’t be able to help others.
Will I be the only person who doesn’t know anyone?
No, most people attend the course alone and have not met any of the other participants. We create an atmosphere of acceptance and warmth and spend plenty of time allowing people to get to know each other.
Will there be any support or help for me after the three-day course?
Many people who attend our courses choose to stay in touch with other people they meet on the course and we are thrilled that these new friendships seem to be an additional source of support for attendees long after the course has finished. We also run a selection of one-day ‘Caring about…’ courses which cover specialised subjects such as eating, drinking or swallowing difficulties, feeling secure in relationships and choosing the right care home. We’re continually developing themed courses and other services, by staying in touch with us we will keep you updated of our new developments.
Do people stay in touch after the course?
Yes, they frequently do, and we are delighted to hear how these new friendships seem to be an additional source of support for attendees long after the course has finished.
What if I have to leave the course half way through?
We understand that people may have to leave the course early for a variety of emergency reasons and our trainers and the hotel staff will support you to make this as easy as possible for you. We ask that you don’t book onto or attend a course if you know in advance that you won’t be able to stay the full three days.
Do I have to share a room?
No. If you are attending with a relative or a friend, you can choose to share a room but this is your choice. You will not be asked to share a room with someone you don’t know.
Is there car parking?
Yes, all of our venues have free parking with plenty of spaces.
I live close to the venue; do I have to stay overnight, or can I just attend for the training?
People have attended our courses and gone home in the evening if they live close by. However, many have commented that with hindsight they wished they had stayed. The friendships and camaraderie which develop during the evenings is highly valued. Our trainers also share an evening with participants and are on duty to answer questions at any time. Evenings give the opportunity to reflect and build on skills and knowledge gained during the day.
What kind of food do we eat on the course?
There is a wide range of foods to cater for everyone’s dietary needs and all meals, snacks and refreshments are provided (alcoholic drinks and other soft drinks not provided can be purchased from the bar in the evenings). Lunches tend to be two courses and served buffet style. Evening meals are three course meals from a menu created by the catering team at the hotel and will be different both evenings.
What should I wear on the course?
Informal/casual wear so you feel comfortable during the programme and your stay at the hotel. No formal wear is required at any time. Some people change for the evening meal, but generally we don’t tend to. During the breaks from sessions, you can take a walk locally, so consider what you may want for this. The hotel does not have access to a gym or leisure pool.
Do I have to eat with everybody else?
In the evenings we invite you to eat with the other course participants, most people enjoy this time to socialise. However, being away from home and being on a course can feel taxing, and it’s important that you have time to reflect and recharge your batteries. So, if you prefer to spend your evenings alone and order room service that’s fine with us. This course is your time, your space; and the most important thing is that you feel comfortable so you can get as much out of the three days as possible.
If I cannot attend at the last minute what is your cancellation policy?
We understand that due to the nature of their caring roles, there are times when situations arise that result in a carer having to cancel their place on the course. If this happens, we would do our best to support you to find another course that is suitable for you. We just ask that you let us know as soon as possible if you need to cancel your place.
Do I get a certificate of attendance for the course?
We do not issue certificates for course attendance, however we have a number of resources that we provide during the course which are yours to take away with you.