Persuading carers to give it a try
In response to the COVID-19 lock down, we have been keen to find ways to support carers of people with a dementia diagnosis while they remain isolated in their homes. In the group that we work with, we found that in conversations online, carers were very keen to share their experiences with peers, but we reluctant to sign up for a ‘support group’.
It seems that there could be a stigma attached with groups that makes carers think that they are not coping, or are ‘not at that stage yet’. Carers tell us that they have friends and family that provide a lot of social support.
However we also started hearing that ‘other people don’t know what its like for me’, and my situation, and were surprised in the willingness to share experiences, and perceived value carers seem to get from sharing their experiences with other carers.
We have started experimenting with meeting formats that have two aspects to the agenda. First a concrete practical reason to come and provide feedback on something unemotional – this could be a new point of research in our centre. But then we leave plenty of room for the conversation to take a natural turn, and to stray into a conversation that supports sharing of experiences.
We reflected this in the naming of our group as a ‘meeting place’ – leaving the nature of the meetings more open-ended.