Family Support Group
We provide support for sons and daughters, grandchildren and other special family members. There is almost always a need for this as supporting a family member living with dementia is usually a family affair. Sons and daughters are often just as concerned for their other parent as they are for the parent with dementia and they are very well placed to support both of them. The support needed by husbands and wives is often different to the support needed for the rest of the family and is best served by home visits and regular conversations at the Monday Club Café. Sons and daughters have different needs and contact may be limited because of geographical and work commitments. Our support is designed to reflect this.
Phone and/or email support
Meetings occur on Saturday mornings every two months and the aims of the meetings are for family members to:
- help WDS volunteers to get to know their parent(s) in order to plan how best to support them
- understand what it is like to have a diagnosis of dementia, common issues and how families can help
- have an opportunity to share experiences, resources and tips with other families.
Usually, about 20 family members attend these two-hour workshops, many travelling from all over the country. The programme is facilitated by senior volunteers and our experienced educational consultant, Sally Blackden. There is usually a mix of presentations about aspects of caring for someone with dementia, and small groups to discuss particular issues of interest that may relate to your own experiences. There is a resource table of relevant books and leaflets. People have found it useful to speak to other family members about their experiences and tips about supporting someone with dementia. Topics to be discussed at future meetings are generated by everyone at the end of the meeting.
Sons and daughters will also have an opportunity to talk to the volunteers who are supporting their parents and this really helps us work together to understand and adjust the help and advice provided.
If you would like to be sent information about the next meeting, email WDS at firstname.lastname@example.org
“It was excellent. I have already put the date in my diary for the next one!”
“I thought I would please my parents and drop in for 10 minutes. I ended up staying the whole time - it was so much more useful than I expected.”
“The presentations really opened my eyes to what can be done. I went away feeling really motivated.”
“They had such a positive attitude. I came away with some really helpful ideas about how to improve things.”
“It was very relaxed and when I shared the details of the latest crisis, I found other families had experienced something very similar. It felt so good to know that other families are going through the same thing.”
“The facilitator really knew her stuff and had helpful suggestions for a whole range of difficult scenarios.”
“I was impressed by the whole morning – it was professional, informative and very effective.”
Families are able to join a Wendover Dementia Support Family Support Group WhatsApp. This is a quick method to allow families to communicate between FSG meetings. It has proved very popular with many families being able to post questions or ask for information about national and local resources. Our senior volunteers are part of the group and can use the WhatsApp group to provide information or advice which is probably relevant to everybody. We emphasise respect and confidentiality and we have been impressed by the support families can offer to each other.
“I needed to know how to get a tracker for my mother as she was getting lost. I posted on the WhatsApp and within minutes I had all the information I needed.”
“I was taking my father for a trip to the canal and I needed a wheelchair. Within minutes I knew where I could borrow a wheelchair and also how best to access the canal. I posted a picture as a thank you!”
“If I feel stressed or guilty about visiting my parents, I know I can reach out to people who understand.”
“I got the details of a number of local care agencies from the WhatsApp group with recommendations. Wonderful!”
Occasionally, families reach a point where they either have significant concerns or have to plan for the future. One of our senior volunteers can offer to facilitate a meeting where the whole family can fully understand the situation and can choose options together. We offer either a home visit or a Zoom meeting, which enables people living far away – even in another country – to take part. This is usually followed up by us circulating an email to everyone who took part which summarises the discussions and any plans that have been agreed.
If you would like to organise something similar, contact us.
“I felt that my Dad could no longer manage living on his own but my brothers did not agree as they did not see him as often as I did. We had a Zoom meeting where it became clear that my brothers did not want him to go into a home. After some discussion, we agreed to look into live-in care. I was able to explain what my concerns were and my brothers started to understand. It was the volunteer who suggested live-in care which none of us had thought of!”
“The Zoom meeting worked really well. I was feeling a bit frustrated and guilty that I could not help as I live in Australia. This way I could support my sister and take part in some important decisions.”