The two-hour session gave families a chance to talk, listen and share experiences. All attendees have something in common – they have a relation living at Tegfield House, who is also living with dementia. The gatherings allow conversations to reflect on emotive topics such as the changes we see as people get older.
The welcoming and family orientated Chilbolton Avenue care home hosted the first session recently with General Manager Jo Aitken, Deputy Manager Jacqui Standing welcoming eight relatives in to the friendly setting.
Hartford Care Brand Director Jo Gavin attended the first meeting as a guest speaker. The group discussed the challenges that families face and how dementia can change the lives of individuals.
The Support Group was the bright idea of Deputy Manager Jacqui. The compassionate and experienced team member joined the Hartford Care family as a Senior Care Assistant in August 2013 and then accepted the role of Deputy Manager in November 2017:
“I often speak to residents’ families who watch the behaviours of their loved one change over time. They have questions and want to find ways to connect so they can still spend quality time together. Dementia is a difficult topic to understand so I approached a few families to tell them my idea and they agreed that it would be beneficial to meet. It’s all about creating understanding, empathy and awareness!”
Jo Aitken is the Manager said: We are a friendly and caring home, so a Support Group seemed like a good idea. Our staff are keen to make a positive difference to the lives of our residents and their families.
We have a little community here at Tegfield House and we think of all the relatives as family and we want to be here to support them. Loving a person who is older and living with dementia can be confusing or even a little sad at times. We will always put those in our care, first. Those who love them, matter hugely to us as well, and we are pleased to be able to listen and we look forward to seeing more people at the next meeting.
The impact of the first meeting is hugely positive and gladly received. Feedback from the participants include comments such as: “I feel better to know I’m not alone and other families are going through the same thing as me”.
The support group will continue every 8 weeks and hopefully will help the families further in their journey.
The next interactive session in April will focus on factual information to help the relatives understand dementia, with information provided from the Alzheimer’s Society.