Christine cares for her husband who has had dementia since 2015, and in the latter years his condition has become worse. Christine, who was put in contact with us through Age UK Salford and Age UK Bolton, has now completed our communications course for family caregivers.
Christine said: “It is an absolute privilege to look after someone with dementia, to have someone put their complete trust in you and also think and act on their behalf. “I met a wonderful lady from the Age UK network, I do not know how I would survive without her, she gave me lots of support and led me to go on the Empowered Conversations course.
“There’s an instant empathy with other people who are on the course. Life can be very lonely for a carer, the advantage of a course like this is that it has taken away the loneliness out of my caring.
“I found comfort, control, and I felt safe because it was all happening in the comfort of my own home, I had complete confidence in their confidentiality.
“I benefit, and my husband benefits because I have been given an insight into how he’s coping with life, how he’s thinking and why he does particular things that I might not have understood. The course gave me a lot of practical ideas about how to cope with life as it gets progressively worse, I couldn’t praise it enough.
“From the outset, I felt empathy, the tutors are very professional and one actually had experienced dementia with a family member. It wasn’t just the practical element, there were real examples of things they had gone through, we ended up as a little team, everybody had unique stories to tell and we could relate to each other. It was like meeting six or seven friends every week, we all seemed to gel and had real empathy for each other’s experience, there was one particular lady I came to with a problem and she offered her advice, I tried it and it worked.”
Christine found that the course didn’t just help her, but she could use it to help her family and friends too. She added: “The course has a double benefit, it’s the carer that benefits and also the person with dementia. It then passes on to third parties, family members, friends, and people who are close to you. They might be nervous about dementia so they stay away, or they might talk over the person with dementia and not include them.
“Empowered Conversations has given me the ability to train them as well, it’s such good value, if you can put a price on it, it’s not just me who is benefiting. We need to make people more aware and give guidance to people about dementia, I don’t just mean caregivers but the general population.
“One of the key symptoms of dementia is forgetting, but dementia carers and patients shouldn’t be forgotten.”
Find out more about other support that Empowered Conversations can offer here.
Find out more about Empowered Conversations courses for family and professional carers here.