What goes on at a carers support group?
“WHAT do you actually do at the support groups?” is a question we are frequently asked on the phones. Despite having worked for Support for Carers for five years, somehow I’d never actually been to one! All that changed today as I went along with Jacqui to her Hinckley Time Out for Carers group, in its super new venue of the Mary Forryan Centre on Leicester Road.
Jacqui had warned me that there might not be very many carers there as it was the week before Christmas, but in fact we got a dozen carers (eight women and four men) ranging in age from 40s to 90s. They were caring for loved ones including parents, spouses and children with a wide range of conditions - most commonly dementia, but also learning difficulties, mental health problems and physical maladies.
The first thing that struck me was how friendly everyone was. One chap had brought a cake as it was his 87th birthday (we didn’t believe it, as he looked a good decade younger!) The offer of a Christmas quiz was politely declined and conversation flowed over tea and cakes as people caught up – one lady hadn’t managed to go for a couple of years, in which time she had lost an amazing 4 stones in weight. The carers seemed genuinely pleased to see each other.
Topics of conversation ranged from different sorts of dementia and their presentation, to the specifics of people’s individual caring situations, to how a carer and his wife had been teenage sweethearts in WW2, to a daughter’s career in France, to how the A14 had improved journey times to Suffolk! The 90 minutes flew by. I was able to advise a carer about accessing a Lifeline alarm and sitting services via a Carers Assessment. They told me how useful a lady from Dementia Friends had been at the last group – expert speakers are regularly invited to talk to our carers groups.
If you are a carer and Hinckley is convenient for you, why not try going along? The group meets on the third Tuesday of each month from 10:30 – 12:00 at the Mary Forryan Centre, Leicester Road, Hinckley LE10 1LW. Next meeting is 15.01.2019.
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