Dementia carers support course launched in Conway Group Care Homes

Relatives of Brooklands and Kilwee Care Homes in Dunmurry are inviting people within the local community affected by dementia to attend a course run by Alzheimer’s Society. Taking place on 3, 10, 17 and 24 August 2017 from 6.30 – 9pm in the Kilwee Care Home, this free course is suitable for those who are caring for someone with dementia.

Conway Group Healthcare Director Therese Conway explains the need for such courses:

“There are more than 20,000 people in Northern Ireland living with dementia. When we provide dementia care, wbelieve in strong family values to deliver compassionate, heart centred and sincere care. Our residents are at the heart of all that we do. We treat residents as individuals with choice, dignity and as a unique person. We achieve this with staff who have the skills and knowledge to make relationship-centred care real.

“Dementia is a progressive, terminal condition for which there is not yet a cure, but with the right support people can live well. This course enables people who care for a family member or friend with dementia to provide that support, but also provides information and advice about looking after themselves”.

The courses, which are funded by the Public Health Agency, aim to help carers understand more about the condition and its symptoms, including the sort of behaviours that people may display which can at times be challenging. By understanding more about dementia the courses help people to cope better with caring for the individual.

The Training for Informal Caregiver course covers dementia symptoms, legal issues, managing finances, carer wellbeing and self-care, and available services. Courses are offered throughout the Belfast Trust area, and can also be arranged for small groups at organisations. An ‘informal carer’ is anyone who provides unpaid care or support for a person, however sporadically. This could be a family member, friend, neighbour or acquaintance.

Alzheimer’s Society trainer, Danny Wilson said:

“Relatives of people with dementia often say that it can be really frustrating when someone doesn’t want to change their clothes, have a shower or sleep at night, especially if the person doesn’t accept that there is anything wrong with them.

“Understanding how the person is trying to make sense of the world, and how they feel about the losses they are experiencing, can help relatives to be more patient and cope better. This, in turn, helps the person with dementia to be more content.

“The courses will also help people to better understand the changes that occur as dementia progresses and there will be the opportunity for carers to discuss the difficulties they face and what tactics work for them. We also look at legal issues, planning for the future, managing finances, and how a person caring for someone with dementia can look after their own wellbeing.

“Our final session ensures people know what services are available in their local area – whether it’s Alzheimer’s Society services such as Dementia Support Workers, Singing for the Brain or Memory Cafes, statutory services or services from other voluntary sector organisations,” Danny Wilson said.

A carer who attended one of the new workshops recently said:

‘It has completely changed the way I think about my Dad and his behaviour.  I’ve passed on lots of tips to the rest of my family and so it’s had a big impact on us.’

To sign up for courses in the Conway Group Homes please contact Barbara Smith on 028 9038 7480 to reserve your place. Please note spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Alzheimer’s Society is here for anyone affected by dementia. The charity provides information and support, to find out more call the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or visit


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