Dementia carers support course launched in Cookstown

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People in Cookstown 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 being run by Alzheimer’s Society throughout the Northern Trust area.

There are more than 20,000 people in Northern Ireland living with dementia, including 806 in the Mid-Ulster area.

Dementia is a progressive, terminal condition for which there is not yet a cure, but with the right support people can live well. This course enables people who care for a family member or friend with dementia to provide that support, but also provides information and advice about looking after themselves.

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. By understanding more about dementia the courses help people to cope better with caring for the individual.

The four week Training for Informal Caregiver course covers dementia symptoms, legal issues, managing finances, carer wellbeing and self-care, and available services. Courses are offered throughout the Northern Trust area, and can also be arrange 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 – whether it’s Alzheimer’s Society services such as Dementia Support Workers, for the statutory services or services from other voluntary sector organisations.”

These four, weekly, 2 ½ hour sessions offer the chance to learn more about the condition and how it

affects the individual are being held at Fairfield’s Care Centre, Fairhill Road Cookstown, Monday, September 4, 2-4pm and every Monday after for a total of four weeks.

For more information or to book a place on one of the local courses contact 07860 258728 or e-mail