It was lovely to be able to provide a place where so many carers felt comfortable to share their personal and emotional stories with the group. Everyone had the opportunity, as agreed in our group contract, to share what they wanted without interruption.
There were 10 carers who came, 6 of whom are at work during the day and could only attend an evening group.
Reflecting on the conversations last night a number of themes emerged for future discussion:
- Following a recent diagnosis – what information do other carers feel would be helpful?
- When someone with dementia forgets your name – why is this important to you?
- Long term caring at home – what are the challenges and tips?
- Isolation when the carer’s family is far away – where can they find support?
- Small pieces of information can really help – eg personalised blister packs of tablets, free incontinence pads.
- Remote caring – how, appropriately used, CCTV can help.
- Avoiding conflict by using distraction techniques.
We also covered some specific topics:
- Entering the reality of the person with dementia, rather than trying to force them into ours.
- The book Case Analogy [see here]
- Not focusing on the “Black Dot” of dementia: don’t let the diagnosis overshadow your perception of the whole person and their life.
- Carer coping strategies: Gratitude journals. [see here and here]
- The science of focusing on looking for the positive things in the day eg the bus came on time or the sun was shining; to help with well being either by writing it down or thinking about it before you go to sleep.
- The use of Alzheimer’s Society Talking Point in helping to reduce social isolation and get help and advice [see here]
The discussions reflected the point: “When you’ve seen one person with dementia, you’ve seen one person with dementia”. Everyone is different and reacts differently to their dementia.
It was lovely to see so many stay behind, for the optional half an hour from 9 until 9:30 to have a chat with each other and us.
During a discussion with Janet, Lorraine mentioned Sea Quest a game project by Alzheimer’s Research UK to help defeat dementia. The video on the website is beautifully animated and worth a watch. Lorraine is a remote carer and is using using the idea from the game of creating new memories to buy a small gift for her Mum each time she takes her out to help her connect with the memory. You can see the video here.
Thank you Ann for your feedback “ Thank you. It said on the leaflet I would get a warm welcome and I did.”
By prior arrangement, one person with dementia came along and was entertained by Julie and Maria, Friendship Group team members, while their partner came to the group. They did colouring, played snakes and ladders, and even did a bit of singing. Everyone said they really enjoyed themselves.
We were pleased people said they want to come back.
We look forward to seeing you at out next Carers’ Group meeting on Monday, 10th April.
If you have any comments you would like to make about tonight’s group meeting, we would love to hear them
Janet, Tatiana and Peter
Note: We are aware some people who attended do not use the internet so we will have copies of this blog at the next group meeting.
For a wealth of information on dementia check out the Alzheimer’s Society Publications and Factsheets [see here]