Time for Me
A story by North Argyll Carers Centre
We provided ‘Time for Me’ support groups for rural and remote carers in locations across Oban, Lorn and Isles enabling carers to get a break from caring role, focus on their own health and wellbeing, create enduring peer support relationships, access therapies for respite.
We also run a ‘Time for Me’ respite week for Carers to Hynish, Tiree.
What Time for Me did
We have established 'Time for Me' carers groups in 4 rural and remote areas, Tobermory & Bunessan on Mull, Kilmelford & Dalmally, with carers (and cared for in 1 area - Kilmelford) meeting monthly or quarterly (Bunessan) to share stories, learn new ways to deal with stress, and have a bit of fun away from their caring role. Due to smaller numbers of carers in Bunessan carers decided to run the groups less often, but this has allowed us to increase the number of groups from 3 to 4.
We have recruited 2 local volunteers, by word of mouth locally, to help at our groups so far. Both volunteers bring useful skills to the group. We took a group of carers on a residential 'Time for Me' break to the Isle of Tiree, and with the help of a volunteer, we ran a photography project, leading to a touring exhibition of carers work.
We have used our Facebook page to promote our village groups, plus enlisted local volunteers to distribute posters and flyers before group meetings. Working in partnership with one well established local village group in Kilmelford has enabled us to reach a high percentage of residents of this small rural community. We have submitted articles about our groups to local village newsletters to help raise the local profile. So far group meetings have included sessions on Mindfulness, Stress Management, Moving & Handling Awareness, Playlist for Life, Reminiscence work, Arts & crafts, Music, Films & Quizzes, all tailored to the needs of the group participants.
Carer A has had many years without fun or laughter, due to her caring situation, as a single parent living in a small and remote island community. A originally trained as an artist, but has been unable to pursue her own career or even maintain a hobby due to the difficulties of her caring role over many years.
Being part of the residential break to Tiree helped A to start feeling much more positive about life, by helping her find a creative path that she is now able to follow. We gave her the confidence to take the challenge of using her new camera, and being part of the touring exhibition has made her feel pleased, proud and satisfied.
Carer C was born and brought up in the village on Mull. She cares for her husband full time, with no help, and finds it extremely difficult to have any time for herself due to her husband's condition. He doesn't like her leaving him alone, and can be very suspicious and paranoid.
As our group only meets once a month and is held in a venue that's within easy walking distance for C, she has been able to come almost every month for the past year. Many of the ladies in the group have grown up together, and don't live far apart geographically, but our group meetings are the only time they have to catch up and share stories.
C particularly enjoys our reminiscence sessions, when she has brought along interesting old photos of the area and local people that the group remember. She sees the group as essential to her wellbeing. As her husband's condition deteriorates, we have recruited a local volunteer who has offered to sit with C's husband to enable her to keep attending the group meetings.
Carer D finds it very difficult to persuade her husband to leave the house due to his mobility issues, and they rarely travel any distance from home. As the village hall is close to home, and the group includes carers and cared for, they have both been able to join us for many of our activities. They have also reconnected with an old friend who attends the group.
Attending the group has given both carer and cared for back their social life, and they look forward to the monthly meetings, and enjoy the variety of activities we run, and in time we can encourage this carer to access further support from North Argyll Carers Centre.
What North Argyll Carers Centre has learnedOffering a group led activity helps carers feel ownership & boost personal confidence, and news of the group spreads by word of mouth, bringing new carers along who would otherwise not have sought out help or support for their caring role.
Many elderly carers in rural & remote areas just don't realize how much a bit of peer support can improve their lives until they come along to a group like 'Time for Me'.