We believe our courses are unique! You are valuable and important and we know that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and neglected as you care for someone with dementia. We’re here to help and would love to encourage you to take the courageous step of booking onto one of our courses. Someone recently told us that coming on our three day course was a “life-line” that she desperately needed, just as she was starting to feel that she was “sinking in despair”.
Please read the information below that tells you what our courses are all about, and if you would like more information get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on 0203 0967895. We’re a small team working as sustainably as possible and may not be able to answer your call straight away, please leave us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
Before I went on the course, I felt like I was drowning in a sea of treacle….now I feel completely different….better able to cope….I definitely do…I needed life skills to make it through each day.
Carers often tell us that they feel guilty if they consider their own needs, as they think the person with dementia needs all the attention and care. However, we want you to know that caring for yourself isn’t selfish or a ‘waste of time’. It’s absolutely necessary, for two reasons:
- You will care better if you take time to re-charge your batteries and build your resilience.
- You are a person too and worthy of care, respect and compassion.
We run a variety of courses to ensure that carers in different situations are catered for. Some courses have carers with a range of needs, whereas others are more tailored for specific groups of people; for example, young onset dementia; adult children and other family relatives; spouses and partners and family carers whose relative has moved into residential care.
We have a mixture of men and women attend our courses and people of all ages, which we find works well. We understand that sometimes it’s difficult to get a diagnosis for someone with dementia. Even if there hasn’t yet been a diagnosis, we recognise that you still need support. Therefore, the person you are caring for does not need to have been given a diagnosis of dementia to enable you to attend.
We aim to build your knowledge about dementia in a way that we hope will captivate your attention. We will also support you to find new ways to develop your resilience so you can survive and grow through the most challenging of times. During the three days, you will be provided with an invaluable opportunity to spend time with experienced, expert and approachable professionals, to really learn, and to get the information and advice you need for your own unique situation. You will also have time to talk and share your experiences with other family carers.
Right now, you may be feeling a variety of different emotions. Maybe you feel sad, frightened, angry, anxious, irritable, hopeful, hopeless, frustrated, calm or numb. We often have tears on our courses, but we also have lots of laughter! We want you to know that however you feel, you will be accepted and not judged. As you get to know the others on the course, we hope you will feel a sense of connection and belonging as you quickly find that others ‘get it’ and you can speak openly and honestly about how you feel. You can also ask questions and hopefully get lots of information that will help you to understand a bit more about what is going on, and what might help.
We currently do not charge a fee for these three-day Carer Support Courses, and simply ask you to consider making a voluntary donation if you can.
The course begins at 11:15 am although we encourage course participants to arrive a little earlier to meet the Course Tutors and other carers 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 carers. 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. And 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 if you have any dietary requirements). In the afternoon you will be told about your rights as a carer 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.
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. Carers tell us that this session really helps them 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 2.
We learn lots about the brain on Day 2. 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. Carers consistently tell us that they feel empowered by the end of Day 2!
Again, we aim to finish at 5:00 pm and dinner will be served at 7:00 pm.
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 carers tell us is a great opportunity to learn and develop their own problem-solving skills.
You will be served a hot lunch on Day 3, 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 3 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 other family carers 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 will bring their subjects to life.
If this all sounds a bit daunting please be reassured that we make every attempt to make sure family carers 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.
I came on this Carers course with an open mind and no expectations…I arrived knowing no one and mentally struggling a wee bit but have left having learnt so much and with bonds that will be lifelong. This is all thanks to the work of Dementia Carers Count…who provide hope, direction and empowerment for those who need it. And they damn well delivered; thank you so much.
Our ‘Caring about…’ one-day courses offer an opportunity to cover specialised subjects in greater depth. Some topics we currently run one-day courses on are eating and drinking; feeling secure in relationships; and choosing the right care home. These courses run from 10:00 am until 4:30 pm and are £40 per person which includes lunch. The day will be run by expert health care professionals and will allow plenty of time to find out lots more about the topic and discuss your experiences and the learning with other carers.