Activity based Befriending and Respite
A story by Baillieston Community Care
We offered flexible respite care at home to support Carers of individuals living with dementia in the East End of Glasgow. Cared for individuals will receive home befriending/activities and Carers will receive some “ME” time.
What Activity based Befriending and Respite did
The Befriending Respite has taken place in the home of the person to be cared for or in their carers home. The respite sitters provided activity based befriending respite for the cared for whilst their carer had a break. Carers could be flexible with those hours and use them however they wished and in a way that would be most beneficial to them, this could be during the day or in the evenings and at weekends.
Our Respite Sitter Support Workers delivered various holistic therapies to our clients including enhanced sensory care sessions, stimulation games, knitting, sewing, craft making, word games and light exercises. We have also promoted our playlist for life project, with a number of clients benefiting from music therapy. Reminiscence work is always a popular activity and encourages communication and engagement. Whenever possible clients were taken out to local parks.
Carers had the opportunity to have some free time. That may have been going out for shopping, to the bank/post office, phone calls with other family members or simply being able to sit in another room and relax for a few hours. As restrictions eased Carers were able to meet others for coffee or lunch, get their hair done or simply get out of the house for a few hours.
Our Respite Support Workers are proactive in cascading relevant information regarding other services and how to access them including helping them through assessment processes, attending meetings (virtual as required) and speaking to social work departments on their behalf with updated information on how the client is progressing and what additional support they need. Our service is widely promoted through Carers Centres, newsletters and our monthly service user forum.
What Baillieston Community Care has learned
Our service is usually that bit of breathing space needed to prepare for the next stage in their journey or enough of a respite period to allow them to continue to manage living day to day. Unfortunately, we are still seeing too many people getting a diagnosis of dementia and then not being given adequate support to live with it and the carers are bearing the brunt of this pressure, and at times not coping in their caring role – this has all been made worse by COVID19 and the imposed lockdown and restrictions.
However, our service has been a light at the end of the tunnel for all of our carers when they have been at their most vulnerable and it’s been great that we have been able to offer people some much needed help. We are able see the immediate effects of this support.
We have also been able to use the service to help the carers tap into other resources such as social work, OT and legal services. Following this they have also been looking at applying for self-directed support and accessing other support from social work, this means that having our staff already working with their loved ones has helped to bridge the transition and prepare them for having other workers in the house.
Although we have not been able to offer our social evenings or Saturday drop-in we have tried to keep in contact with carers and clients remotely and have organised a number of zoom social evenings which enabled clients/carers to have a chat with others which formed another kind of support and understanding from other carers who understand how living with Dementia impacts everyone.
We were fortunate to secure funding to purchase some tablets for carers to use to keep in contact not only with ourselves but with other family members and our support workers were proactive in setting these up or being available to assist.
We have strived to make the service more personalised by discussing with the carers and clients new and alternative ways in which we can use the respite to enhance the experience for both the carer and the one being cared for. In assessment stages we have really tried to identify new places and activities that staff can try with the client and we have taken time at that stage to really chat with the carers and try to help them identify what they might like to do in their periods of respite as in the past we have found the carers reluctant to leave the house or try anything for themselves as they felt guilty or scared to do something for themselves. We have really put an emphasis on working closely with the carers to identify options.
How Baillieston Community Care has benefitted from the funding
The difference the fund had made to our organisation has been fantastic. It offered us flexibility and alternative options that we could offer to carers and their loved ones. It provided opportunities for staff to develop and enhance their knowledge and skills in caring for people with dementia and illustrated to them the struggles the unpaid carers are under and how they can help them cope with the caring role and how vital periods of respite are It has assisted us in securing funding for this project and well as for the organisation as a whole from other funders.
12 Carers and 12 older people with dementia will have reduced stress levels with more opportunities to enjoy friendship and hobbies/outings
We have been able to provide 632 hours of respite for 14 Carers where they have had the opportunity to have some time to themselves, meet up with friends or other family members, get their hair done or shopping in peace. We have been able to provide 632 hours of Befriending respite for 14 cared for who have undertaken activities such as stimulation games, reminiscence, reality orientation, knitting, sewing, craft making, word games, outings to the park and other places of interest or simply out for tea/coffee or a walk
We provided 2 hours respite per week to a daughter who looks after her mother who has dementia. This service allowed the daughter to have some time at home to catch up with things around the house and pay some bills over the phone. The Respite Support Worker took the mother out in her local area, in her wheelchair (weather permitting). If the weather was poor, the Respite Support Worker would take the mother into another room to look at old photographs, play cards which she loved or look through some magazines. We provided support at home to 3 ladies who would normally attend our Day Centre, Bealach House and who felt more isolated due to the pandemic, and not having the interaction they would normally have at day care. These ladies were living with dementia. We provided 4 hours per week to each individual, to give their families some respite. During these visits the Respite Support Workers set up zoom calls on a tablet to enable them to interact with their friends who they would normally attend day care with. This had great benefits as they were able to sing and chat to their friends and have social interaction, safely in their own home.
12 Carers of older people with dementia have taken the opportunity to have at least 8 hours ME time respite once a month to enjoy an activity or meet up with friends and family
14 Carers have received approximately 632 hours of respite over the past 12 months. They have been able to use this as required depending on their circumstances and time required meeting up with family and friends and also getting other things done like shopping, paying bills etc. Many more requested support and we wanted to assist as many as possible.
We provided support to a Carer (granddaughter) who was living with her grandfather who had a recent dementia diagnosis. We provided 6 hours per month respite, to allow her to socialize with friends once per month and enjoy time away from her caring role. During this visit the Respite Support Worker would play cards, dominos and other board games, whilst discussing times from the gentleman’s past. The granddaughter was able to relax and have some ME time, knowing that her grandfather was safe at home and being supported.
12 Carers will report improved family relationships through relieved stress and tension from the opportunity to have regular respite breaks
We were able to provide 14 Carers the opportunity to meet (or facetime) with staff to discuss issues surrounding dementia as well as attending our regular monthly support group meetings (some of these were undertaken remotely via zoom) where they were able to get peer support and build friendships with others in the same situation We were also able to sign post carers to additional contacts and provide information on subjects relating to their situations such as Self Directed Support, Maximising Benefits, Social Work Services, Dementia and Legal Affairs as well as providing some training to better support them in their caring role.
We provided respite to a Carer (daughter) who was looking after her father, who was living with dementia. Our Respite Support Worker provided 4 hours per week of befriending at the gentleman’s home to allow his daughter to have some time to herself and get some things done like shopping, banking and when possible meeting friends/other family for coffee. During these visits our Respite Support Worker spent time at the gentleman’s home doing jigsaws and other activities such as reading, a bit of cooking and spending some time in the garden as he loved to potter with his plants and also when the weather was fine to sit and relax in the sun. The Respite Support Worker also liaised with the Carer and assisted her to make a referral to the local authority for a full assessment of her father, so that she could apply for self-directed support.