Activity Based Befriending & 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 received home befriending/activities and Carers had the chance for some “ME” time.
What Activity Based Befriending & 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. 15 cared for and 15 carers benefited.
Carers have been able to meet up with family members for lunch/dinner, get bills paid, deal with correspondence, go out for shopping, to hairdressers, catch up on sleep, go to bingo, cinema or a concert.
Whilst providing the respite for our carers we were also able to utilise this time to engage the person with dementia in social activities and boost stimulation. Support workers delivered various holistic therapies including; enhanced sensory care sessions, hand massage, aromatherapy and light exercises. We 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. We have taken several clients on outings to places of interest including museums/art galleries, shopping trips and out to local parks.
We have also been able to use the service to help the carers tap into other resources such as social work, occupational therapy and legal services. Following this they have also been looking at applying for self-directed support and accessing other support from social work and 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.
Our service is widely promoted through carer’s 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. In spite of the national policy surrounding dementia care 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. 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.
Additionally our client/carer social evenings which takes place 4 times a year and our monthly Saturday drop-in continues to offer all our clients/carers the chance to meet up socially and we have had the opportunity to offer that chance to our clients/carers with creative breaks, this has meant they have had the chance for more social interaction and building confidence and reducing isolation and also gaining another form of support and understanding from other carers who understand how living with Dementia impacts everyone.
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
We have striven 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.
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.
15 Carers have received approximately 41 hours of respite over the past 6 months. They have been able to use this as required depending on their circumstances and time required. Many more requested support and we wanted to assist as many as possible.
We provided support to a lady A, who has been living with dementia for several years. The lady is being provided 24 hour support from family members. The family would not be able to go to family events or gatherings together as one person is always required to care for their mum. We provided 2 hours support per week to allow the family to meet once per week for lunch and have a break away together from their caring role. During this period the respite sitter spent time reading to A as she enjoyed hearing stories from the local newspapers or having a book read to her. This seemed to relax A while her family were out and alleviated any distress being separated from 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 15 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 training to better support them in their caring role
We provided support to a carer (daughter) who is living with her parents who both have dementia as they could no longer live on their own. We provided 4 hours per week for the daughter M to have time away from her caring role to meet friends for a coffee and to also to get the weekly shopping, pay bills, etc. M was also able to attend the monthly carers forum for some peer support and the respite sitter supported her by signposting to additional support as well as helping with form filling. During the respite, the respite sitter supported the couple with Dementia by spending time going through photo albums of their wedding, family holidays and they would reminisce about the past. The man and wife used to love bowling and played a lot and they really enjoyed talking about that. M said her parents were much more relaxed when she got home and so was she.
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 616 hours of respite for 15 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 616 hours of Befriending respite for 15 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
M has dementia and is looked after full time by her husband J. We provided 4 hours per week to allow J to attend a local carers group once per week where he had the time to relax and enjoy a chat and some lunch and also to visit his Mother once per week. During this time the respite sitter supported M to go out in the local community for walks especially to the local farm park where she loved to see the animals. On other visits the respite sitter would play music to M that she liked to listen to when growing up.