When COVID-19 interrupted face-to-face training in 2020 we took our Dementia Skills Sessions online. Those initial training sessions have since developed into a whole programme of training options for both family and friends of people with dementia, and professionals who work with people with dementia. Online training has enabled us to reach and benefit more people than ever before..
Our Dementia Skills Programme centres around our core module – Thinking Differently About Dementia. This 2-hour session provides family and friends, and staff and volunteers with a foundational understanding of dementia and the skills needed to support somebody living with dementia.
Howard cares for his wife Natalie, who has been living with dementia for three years. They are both in their seventies. He attended one of our Dementia Skills Sessions in 2020, and describes it as having a significant impact on how he and Natalie live together.
“(In the training) we had been talking about how to share tasks at home. I’d been trying to do absolutely everything myself just to make sure it was done. Half way through (the training), the trainer said: “We’re going to have a tea break and it might be an idea if you shared making the tea.” Natalie has been struggling to lift our kettle, so I said: “You get the cups, you put the milk in.” And it worked really, really well! So I thought from now on we’ll try to share more things. For example, now when I do the evening meal I tend to do the main bit, but if there’s vegetables to go with it, Natalie does those. I don’t think that would ever have happened without being on that webinar. Natalie definitely likes being involved with the making of the dinner. Before, she would just sort of stand around watching me, which is, let’s be honest, a bit disconcerting.”
Howard thoroughly recommends the training for other people in his situation, and says the fact they are online makes it really easy to access the help they offer,
“Putting these sessions on Zoom has made them more accessible and easier to attend, in fact, I don’t think I would have been able to come to the Dementia Skills Session if it had been face to face. It makes it possible for the person you are caring for to attend as well without them feeling unnecessarily stressed. It was exceptionally well-handled, very professional and easy to follow. The link was there, the guidelines were good, the group was very well run.”
Our Dementia Skills Sessions are proving to be a vital and beneficial support to numbers of attendees. For many family carers, the session was often the first support they had received, with 85% of attendees saying they previously had minimal or no contact with other support services.
In order to make sure we’re continuing to support people in the ways they need it, we ask for feedback following the sessions. Of the carers that attended:
“The two speakers were so positive, friendly and engaging. Lots of really useful info on practical things and the emotional side of the illness. Had a really good balance of taught info and participation. I really felt that it was a safe platform to ask questions.”
“I felt like I wasn’t alone. I highly recommend.”
The Dementia Skills Sessions are suitable for anyone who wants to improve their knowledge and understanding of dementia. They are FREE to attend, but booking is essential.
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