Adult Carer Holistic Project
A story by Stirling Carers Centre
The Project provided events and activities for unpaid adult carers and their cared-for throughout urban and rural Stirling. It also allowed carers’ the opportunity to relax, have time for themselves, become better informed and learn techniques to support their physical and emotional well-being.
What Adult Carer Holistic Project did
We are delighted to report that thanks to funding from Creative Breaks we were able to provide a wide range of successful respite breaks to our unpaid adult carers as set out in our application. Carers are a diverse group and their needs vary this was taken into account in the design of the projects’ activities. Carers were able to enjoy life beyond caring, feel supported in their caring role and see an improvement in their well-being.
Coffee Mornings A monthly group based in our city centre office. Provides carers with a chance to escape the worries of caring, relax, enjoy a sack and socialise with other carers.
Book Club This monthly group has grown in popularity with adult carers of all ages. Friendly, lively discussion takes place. They have also set-up their own WhatsApp group to keep in touch between club meetings.
Walking Group meets fortnightly in various local accessible picturesque locations. Some cares choose to bring their cared-for. An opportunity for light physical exercise good chat.
My Time a monthly group set up at the request of younger adult carers who were unable to attend day time groups. The group choose their own activities such as cocktail making and the escape rooms.
Male Carers Group Slow to start this monthly group has been a great success. Male carers are sharing openly with each other about their caring role and enjoying activities such as supporting the local football team axe throwing and lunch.
Complementary Therapies and Yoga Offered by qualified therapists to all our adults in urban and rural venues at times to suit the carers. Massage, reiki and beauty treatments provide much-needed relaxation.
Carer -Cared-for Group This new bi-monthly group has been extremely popular. Carers and their loved ones could attend events that previously had been too difficult for them to do on their own. Provided the opportunity to enjoy family time together; including trips to V&A and Burrell Collection.
What Stirling Carers Centre has learned
For the first time, we utilised an Impact Assessment tool. This was used in addition to our normal Monitoring & Evaluation Methods to assess the potential range of benefits to carers and to make any changes necessary to mitigate adverse effects and ensure the best outcomes. The Impact Assessment tool, how to implement it and read the outcomes was a new skill for staff. We are happy with this assessment tool and will use it as a standard.
Piloting the carer-cared-for group has been very successful and is often oversubscribed. Benefits to the carer, their cared for and wider family have been very effective. We will continue to deliver and expand these groups subject to funding. It has also reinforced that piloting is a good way to trial a new project.
The project has also evidenced that given the right supportive environment and understanding, male carers can learn to open up about their emotional and mental health. It also tells us the importance and value of peer support as the men have formed meaningful, lasting friendships beyond the group.
How Stirling Carers Centre has benefitted from the funding
Funding We cannot express enough how important Creative Breaks funding has been. Without this funding we would not have been able to deliver these vital events and activities to our adult carers. A much smaller scale may have been possible with funding from some Trusts & Foundations but the impact would have been greatly reduced. The quality of life of our carers would have continued to deteriorate. We also believe that having the support and funding from Creative Breaks is good for our reputation and will influence other funders to support us. The funding allowed us to pilot the cared-for group which was a great success and we would wish to continue to deliver
135 carers will report feeling happier and having a better life balance as a result of participating in our Project. Target 1 70 carers will benefit from weekly Complementary Therapies and Yoga Target 2 40 carers will benefit from participating in the Monthly Book Club and Coffee Mornings
We are delighted to report that carers reported that the activities we intended to deliver went ahead as planned and outcomes were achieved. Complementary therapies were particularly popular. 94% reported feeling better as a result of taking part in the groups. All those who participated in the complementary therapies, book club and coffee mornings reported having a better quality of life, getting out of the house, spending time with other people in similar situations, relaxing, learning new techniques to deal with stress and taking part in activities helped them to enjoy life beyond caring.
Isobel is a new carer at our Centre. She cares for her husband who has dementia. They are both in their 80’s. When they were younger they travelled a great deal and had a very active life style. They no longer have the friends they used have and miss the chance to socialise. They have a son who lives near-by and visits and helps where he can. As a result, Isobel had become very isolated, lonely and depressed her overall quality of life was becoming increasingly poor. As a new carer Isobel was advised by her Adult Carer Support Officer of our full range of events and activities available. Isobel wasted no time in booking herself onto several of the groups. She is now an active member of the Book Club, Coffee Mornings and receives regular complementary therapies. She has also been able to bring her husband to the carer-cared-for events. Attending groups, gathering information from group talks on legal matters and carers rights, meeting and chatting with other carers offers a real escape from the daily worries of her caring role. Her son is also very grateful to see his Mum have a social life again as he was becoming very worried about her emotional well-being. Quote “Life had lost it’s shine. You have changed my life for the better”
130 carers will report feeling more able to cope and less stressed through accessing our project. Target 1 25 Carers will participate in the monthly My Time Events 25 Carers will participate in the Male Carer Group
We are again delighted to report that as a result of participating in My Time events and the Male Carers Group our carers reported on evaluation forms that they were feeling less stressed and more able to cope in their caring role. Male Carers in particular commented on the enormous difference being in the company of other male carers in a social environment and sharing the experiences had made to their mental health 100% stated they felt more supported. Peer support has been invaluable. My Time group choose their own variety of activities and meaningful lasting friendships have been established.
Ron is a carer for his wife who has a neurological condition and mobility issues. Ron himself struggles with his mental health and for many years has had difficulty in social settings. As a result, they very rarely ventured out of the house and his social anxiety only worsened. However, encouraged and supported by his designated Support Officer he agreed to come along to the Men’s Group. Initially it was quite problematic for him to mix. Thankfully with understanding from staff and other carers he relaxed into the group and opened up to his fellow male carers about his home situation. He has gone from strength to strength becoming a valuable member of the group and encouraging other male carers to join the group. He has found the peer support invaluable. His self confidence has increased so much that he has also joined the Coffee Morning Group. Quote from Ron “I have found through this wonderful service how kind people can be. I found the help and backing I have had has been amazing.”
100 carers and their cared-for will report an overall improvement in their physical and mental well-being Target 1 30 carers and their cared-for will participate in rural/urban fortnightly walking group sessions Target 2 50 carers and their cared-for will participate in 6 new monthly Breaks
We are extremely pleased to report that carers and cared-for who participated in the events benefited enormously as individuals and as a family. The walking group helped to improve physical and mental well-being. The six bi-monthly events were a huge success and included a sail and lunch on the Sir Walter Scott steamship on Loch Katrine, and a trip to V&A Museum with lunch in Dundee. They all expressed how valuable it was to be enjoying a day out together as a family which hadn't happened in such a long time. Their spirits were lifted and felt less worried about the daily issues of caring. Carers reported that as a result of feeling happier and coping better their cared-for benefited as relationships were improved.
Martha is Carer for her husband, Ian who has Alzheimer’s Dementia. They have been married for 50 years. Before retiring they ran the local village shop and enjoyed being busy and meeting with the locals and tourists. They also enjoyed a good social life with friends and family. However, getting out of the house as they used to has become increasingly difficult due to Ian’s dementia as Martha felt that people were judging Ian’s behaviour as inappropriate and she felt embarrassed. She missed days out with her husband and doing the kind of things other couples take for granted. Martha had been feeling more and more isolated and stressed and exhausted from having to do more of the daily household tasks and taking care of Ian. Martha was delighted to take up the opportunity for them both to participate in the carer-cared-for group. This has included trips to V&A Dundee including the Tartan Exhibition, a sail on the steamship St Walter Scott on Loch Katrine both with lunch included. Martha commented how stress-free it was to be in a safe setting with other carers who understood their situation. Some of the time Martha spent viewing the exhibition while staff and volunteers chatted with Ian. At other times it was lovely to watch them walk hand in hand around the V&A. Martha stated that her mood improved, she felt more included and more supported. “Just lovely meeting others and chatting and a lovely lunch” In addition to the carer-cared-for events Martha is now enjoying the benefits of our complimentary therapies on her own when her daughter stays with her Dad.