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.
How are DCC services being funded?
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 person to deliver the three-day course, including food and accommodation and it costs us £125 per person to deliver each of our one-day courses. 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.
Who are DCC’s courses for?
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.” So we have no set rule for who can and cannot attend courses.
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 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 types of dementia are covered on the courses?
Our courses have already helped hundreds of family carers of people living with various types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, vascular and mixed dementias as well as the other rarer forms such as posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), Lewy body and fronto-temporal dementias.
Our carers liaison administrator works closely with you to ensure that the trainers delivering the course know the specific type of dementia that is important for you to learn about and discuss.
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.
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 one day course as a bolt on to our three-day course specifically for this group of carers. More information can be found here.
Can more than one person from my family 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.
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. Our team includes professionals such as clinical psychologists, coaches, health and wellbeing practitioners, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists 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?
No, please don’t worry about this. We send you the pre-course information pack before the course starts. This tells you more about the staff who will be at the course, the venue and the timings. People attend the courses with a range of knowledge and experience and we don’t expect any prior knowledge.
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. If you choose the residential option on our three-day course, we invite you to eat together in the evenings 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.
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.
I have already attended courses on dementia, how is this different
Our courses are unique as we focus on how you can understand and cope with the changes in the person with dementia and ways to build your resilience and well-being whilst caring.
We hope to equip you with skills that will help you to manage situations long after the course has finished, when things change for yourself and the person you care for changes. Coaching is a core offer within these courses and enables you to develop new ways of thinking and coping as situations arise.
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.
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?
We have our Virtual Carers Centre and a range of online learning sessions which may refresh your knowledge from the course and also add to it. 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 staff will support you to make this as easy as possible for you.
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.
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.