Adult Carers – ‘Getting out Together’ Supported Activities Programme
A story by PKAVS
The project offered a planned respite programme of a fully supported respite holiday breaks, social lunches, social dances.
Cinema outings, music concerts, music and reminiscence sessions and a Christmas lunch all for both Carers and the people that they care for to enjoy together.
What Adult Carers – ‘Getting out Together’ Supported Activities Programme did
During the 'Getting out together' project we delivered a programme of short breaks and activities throughout Perth and Kinross that both the carer and cared for could enjoy together.
We arranged a fully supported, fully accessible short break at The Rings in Fife, through our Respitality contact, for 6 couples in April 2019, we ran 10 music reminiscence sessions with a local musician and with help from the local museum, we hosted 1 lunchtime music concert in partnership with Music in Hospitals, 2 social dances with support from Respitality partner.
The Salutation Hotel, 5 dementia friendly cinema screenings in conjunction with the Birks Cinema and the Playhouse in Perth trips and 2 social lunches and 3 Christmas lunches over 3 locations.
The priorities for the fully supported short break, were given to carers caring for someone with a Dementia or carers who would have benefit from a smaller group holiday with more intensive support. We knew that some of our carers had declined previous holidays because of the cost involved in having a supported break together.
The activities that we hosted or ran were aimed at reducing social isolation and facilitating peer networks and support. Although the projects aim was supporting carers of people living with a dementia we did not place restrictions which would have prevented other carers and their cared for from accessing the short break activities. The project has gained interest from lots of partner organisations that we worked with and we have been able to identify hidden carers who have not sought any form of support previously.
Feedback from those who have attended the sessions tells us that people have recognised their need for respite, feel they have a better relationship, feel less isolated, better connected and have a better life balance. The opportunity to make memories together in a supported environment has meant for people that they could relax and just be together and enjoy those precious moments.
What PKAVS has learned
This project has definitely helped us to identify hidden carers. We are now supporting people who without this project might not have accessed any support.
How PKAVS has benefitted from the funding
The project has been brilliant for drawing on community resources. We have had to think about best deals, negotiating discounts and thinking about local carer discount initiatives to help the budget go further.
Carers and cared for will tell us that they feel more relaxed and less stressed in their relationships.
This outcome was achieved. We received feedback from 80 carers and the people that they care for. All carers felt that the activities were a great opportunity to just be together and enjoy being in the moment. The support that was around people during the short break activities held to reduce the stress of getting out and simply being able to enjoy being together helped to improve the well being of both the carers and their cared for. "The different events have definitely helped us both. It has really helped us speaking with others who are living with a diagnosis of a Dementia, we have been meeting friends and we have felt the support build around us"
One of the carers who attended the music and memories sessions with her mum came along as she felt her mum had become really isolated and distant since her diagnosis or Alzheimer's. Both had fears around the future and individually they felt stressed about the uncertainty of what was happening. They had been really close and felt it was difficult to talk about what was going on with each other. The Music and Memories Sessions helped the ladies to reconnect with each other. They enjoyed talking with each other about all the memories that the music evoked. They both felt that they were able to relax at the session because they knew that they could talk freely and enjoy the time that they were spending together. The Carer could see that her mum's memory was clear when it came to music and this gave them both some confidence to start talking about some of the issues that they has been worrying about. We were able to arrange for a carers support worker to visit the carer. We helped her identify areas of life where they both needed a little support. The result was that mum now attends a day centre 2 days a week and feels less isolated having made new friends, the carer has been able to maintain her work and feels better connected having made friends with other carers who have cared for someone living with a dementia. They both feel much less stressed about the future now and have been able to approach the difficult conversations which had created a distance in their relationship with each other.
Carers and the people they care for will report enjoying meaningful activities and have a sense of a life out with their caring relationship.
The feedback from carers tells us that each of the activities were meaningful for them in the sense that they felt they had the opportunity to enjoy a life outside of their caring role by spending times simply being together as people not as carer and cared for.
One of the couples that attended the fully supported break had been through quite a difficult period together both physically and emotionally. They were at the point that a break away together was no longer an option because of the difficulties around access and the need for extra support. This break was ideal for them. The support around them was familiar as they knew the support workers which meant they both were happy to accept some additional help, the house was fully accessible with all additional support aids in place, the social area meant that everyone could be together at meal times and the couple felt that for the first time in ages they were able to enjoy the company and relax. As part of the holiday we went for an evening meal to a pub and they felt as if they were husband and wife our for diner with friends. When we came back home they both felt refreshed and rejuvenated.
Carers will feedback that the regular respite has prevented carer breakdown and crisis.
Feedback tells us that carers have certainly felt more supported and more aware of the supports available to them as a result. Through the project we have identified 25 new carers who were not already receiving support for their caring role.
One mother and daughter who attended the social lunch had never accessed any form of support previously. A recent diagnosis of a dementia had meant that both were still coming to terms with the diagnosis. The dementia had progressed quickly however, and this meant that they had no idea of what support was around in their community. The short break activities have all been supported by adult carers support team and so this carer was able to have an initial conversation face to face with a worker. The worker was able to share some information with the carer and introduce them both to others who had had support and could tell them about the benefits they felt and the areas of support that had worked for them. They now have an SDS package of respite in place which means that the carer has been able to cope with the increasing demands of her caring role and she knows that her mum is safe and looked after in her own home.