Activity Based Befriending for Cared For and Respite for Carers
A story by Baillieston Community Care
We delivered flexible respite care at home to support Carers of individuals living with dementia in the East End of Glasgow. Cared for individuals received home befriending/activities and carers some “ME” time.
What Activity Based Befriending for Cared For and Respite for Carers did
We delivered 170 x 4 hour sessions of Befriending/Respite which 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.
Due to the uplift we were also able to offer some overnight care to cope with crisis situations – 4 overnight sessions at at approximately 18 hours were provided. 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 meeting others for coffee or lunch, get their hair done or simply get out of the house for a few hours.
Our Respite Support Workers were proactive in cascading relevant information regarding other services and how to access them including helping them through assessment processes, attending meetings and speaking to social work departments on their behalf with updated information on how the client is progressing and what additional support they
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.
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.
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 as well as for the organisation as a whole from other funders.
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
19 Carers have received approximately 754 hours of respite over the past 12 months through Creative Breaks funding. 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. Some overnight sessions were delivered. Many more requested support and we wanted to assist as many as possible.
We provided some support in the evenings to assist son D whose mother is living with Dementia. D’s mother was becoming very distressed in the evenings and was continuously phoning her son, who was either still at work or just arrived home and this included the weekends as well. A Support Worker provided support every evening for 30 minutes, to sit and talk to her, have a cup of tea and distract her from phoning her son. These visits were beneficial to D and his mother as his mother had company for a short period and she was less distressed in the evening and therefore the constant calls reduced and he was less stressed and could enjoy evenings with his wife and family.
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 19 Carers the opportunity to meet with staff to discuss issues surrounding dementia as well as attending our regular monthly support group meetings 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 support overnight to 2 daughters to assist them in supporting their father who is living with Dementia. This overnight support allowed his two daughters to have one night off each away from their caring roles. The two daughters were at crisis point, as they were providing the 24 hour care themselves, and this allowed them to have a night’s sleep, knowing that their dad would be safe in his own home. We assisted the family with a referral to the local carers centre.
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 754 hours of respite for 19 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, shopping in peace or attend to emergency situations. We have been able to provide 754 hours of Befriending respite for 17 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 4 hours per week to a carer who looked after her husband, who is living with Dementia. The 4 hours respite allowed the lady to get time away from her caring role, by going to the shops, or time to spend with family/friends. Our Support Worker spent the time at home with the gentleman playing chess and different board games, or if the weather was nice they would walk around the local park.