Activity Based Befriending for Cared For and Respite for Carers
A story by Baillieston Community Care
We provided 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 took some “ME” time.
What Activity Based Befriending for Cared For and Respite for Carers 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. 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. We had one face to face carers group and the other contact has been 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 have some tablets which we are able to provide for carers to use to keep in contact not only with ourselves but with other family members and our support workers are 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 640 hours of respite for 12 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 640 hours of Befriending respite for 12 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 respite support to a Carer (daughter) who lives with her mother, who has dementia. The Respite Support Worker took the lady to the bingo one week, and then the following week would spend time in the local shopping centre, where they would go for some shopping and a cup of tea. With the Respite Carer taking the lady out, this gave her daughter time to catch up with some things around their home, or just having some ME time to relax and rest.
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
12 Carers have received approximately 640 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 gentleman, who is a full-time carer to his wife, who is living with Dementia. The gentleman attends a walking group once per fortnight on a Saturday and this respite support allowed the gentleman to have some time away from his caring role, knowing that his wife was safe at home with a Support Worker. During this visit the Respite Support Worker spent the time baking scones and different cakes, as this is what the lady had enjoyed throughout her life.
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 12 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 support to a Carer (Son) who was looking after his mother, who was living with Dementia. Our Respite Support Worker provided 2 hours per week of befriending in the lady’s home. The support provided was to allow her son to go and play darts with his team every Thursday evening. This allowed the son to go out and socialize, doing what he enjoyed and allowing time away from his caring role. The Respite Support Worker spent the time looking at photographs, reading the paper, and watching some TV with the lady. The Respite Support Worker also assisted the son in looking at benefits he received to ensure that these were being maximized. A referral was made to the local authority for a full assessment of his mother so that he could apply for self-directed support.