Support course in Cullybackey for informal dementia care givers

Broughshane course group: Helen Young (volunteer), with Mandy, Marleen, Margaret, Honor, and Sarah McLaughlin (Training Facilitator).
Broughshane course group: Helen Young (volunteer), with Mandy, Marleen, Margaret, Honor, and Sarah McLaughlin (Training Facilitator).

People in Cullybackey caring for someone with dementia are being offered the opportunity to learn more about the condition and how it affects people in a series of free courses.

There are more than 20,000 people in Northern Ireland living with dementia, including 1350 in the Ballymena and Antrim area. The four weekly, two and a half hour sessions are being held at Dr John McKelvey Community Centre in the village from 6.30pm -8.30pm, starting Wednesday, August 30, and continuing on the Wednesday evenings of September 6, September 13, and September 20.

The course being held in Cullybackey is one of a number being run by Alzheimer’s Society throughout the Northern Trust area.

The courses, which are funded by 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.

The four week Training for Informal Caregiver course covers dementia symptoms, legal issues, managing finances, carer wellbeing and self-care, and available services.

Courses 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, Sarah McLaughlin 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,” said Sarah.

For more details or book a place on one of the local courses contact 90 387 480 or e-mail