Learning Opportunities

Discussion in 'Dementia-related news and campaigns' started by Kayla, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    621
    Kent
    This morning I had to make a presentation about Learning Opportunities in the Community, for a Volunteer's Course I'm taking. I mentioned the possibility of organising a Carers' Course to provide information, social contact and job training skills.
    Another student had conducted a survey amongst the over 50's age group. She discovered that caring for a relative was the main barrier to people, in this age group, starting an Adult Education Course.
    There was general agreement about the loss of confidence of carers, and their need for support and social activities. Maybe this is just a tiny step in the right direction, but I was pleased about the interest shown about carers, especially as the group consisted mainly of people with school age children.
    Kayla
     
  2. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Well done Kayla!!!!

    The differential is that people caring for children - especially younger ones - generally get help - self funded or otherwise - with child care - from creches at college to childminders and after-school clubs ..... that provision is often there ....

    It was suggested to me more than a year ago that I took a course (any course) just to allow myself 'me-time' and take up anything of interest to me for my own pleasure of learning .... nice idea BUT ...... between 'caring', going out to work and living by my diary of appointments for mum, looking after my son, not to mention anytime for self and hubby the idea of an 'extra commitment' like attending college at a set time every week seemed more like another headache and 'appointment' to juggle rather than an opportunity ....

    If someone could guarantee me an 'evening off' once a week from all my responsibilities to those I care for I'm not sure I know anymore how I would spend it ...... perhaps that's exactly the course I need?????

    Sorry, that wasn't meant to be negative .... I hugely applaud all you are doing ...

    Just thoughts....

    Love, Karen, x
     
  3. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    621
    Kent
    There are many courses available on-line, which can help people with literacy, numeracy, foreign languages and IT skills, and some are free because they are subsidised by the Government.
    For information on all Learndirect services visit www.learndirect.co.uk or call free on 0800 100 900.
    I think that if carers can't go out to work and are at home looking after someone else all day, these on-line courses might help them to retain and enhance their job skills, in case they need to go back to work later on.
    Adult Education Classes offer recreational, academic and job skills for students to widen ther horizons. I found that my Creative Writing Classes helped me to cope with looking after Mum, when things seemed to be getting very difficult.
    When I was working full time, I didn't have time for evening classes either, but then I was going out to work and meeting people. Classes are just one way for carers to have a break and do something different, but of course they may not be right for everyone.
    I agree that there is far more support available for childcare than for dependent adults and we need to make sure that the needs of carers are brought to the attention of anyone who can actually do something about it.
    Kayla
     
  4. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Absolutely not disagreeing with you - but to me the emphasis for carers is finding the outlet for the 'recreational and social' element...... obviously everyone here who has found TP has some 'on-line' outlet ... that in itself proves how socially isolating (as in actually getting out and meeting people - not just in a virtual sense) caring can be ....

    Sitting at a PC - whether on TP or to undertake a LearnDirect course - is achievable only because you are 'ever-present' (physically) and can 'dip in and out' at any time 24/7 to suit all the other needs you are juggling....

    I'm sure lots of carers would love 'the break' ..... but how to lay the foundations for those caring at home to actually achieve it?????

    Love, Karen, x
     
  5. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    621
    Kent
    In my area, there seems to be no shortage of people willing to volunteer to work in Charity Shops or help out at the local Hospice in a variety of ways. I wonder if there should be some kind of Volunteer Network to provide people willing to run errands or just sit with someone, while their carer has a few hours to attend a course or perhaps go to the pub or cinema with friends.
    When my children were small, there were babysiitting groups to help each other out with childcare. When Mum was at home, I'd have loved to have had somebody to take her around the shops occaisionally or just go and have a cup of tea and a chat.
    I'm sure there must be people who have a few hours to spare, who could help take some of the pressure off carers, but there doesn't seem to be any organisation to put volunteers in touch with carers. Unfortunately we don't have a branch of the Alzheimer's Society in North Kent and the nearest branch is apparently miles away in Sussex.
    Adult Education Centres do sometimes have Learner Support Funds available, which may be used to provide care for a dependent, while a carer attends a course. It is always worth asking what is available and there will probably be a Student Welfare officer, who could give advice about grants or concessions on courses.
    It would be ideal if Elder Care was provided at Adult Education Centres, in the same way as Child Care is sometimes provided.
    I know that you were not disagreeing with me Karen, but it is a good idea to raise these issues and discuss possible solutions.The more people talk about things, the more likely we are to think of ways to solve the problems. Social clubs would be another way for carers to meet other people to talk to.
    Kayla
     
  6. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    I remember saying to my mother "why can't you get a babysitter?" for my father, but he wouldn't co-operate, (and he didn't have dementia as far as we knew, only fairly normal old age).

    I have done voluntary work with elderly people but of course it depends on the consent of the person being visited. I might do something like that again but can't at the moment.
     
  7. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Neither was there an obvious need for CRB checks for anyone who - paid or voluntarily - who were entrusted with the care of some of the most vulnerable members of society....

    I'm sorry if I'm missing the whole point here .....:confused:

    Karen
     
  8. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    621
    Kent
    How can we organise learning opportunities?

    There seems to be general agreement that carers need to be able to have time off for themselves, so that they can talk and socialize with other people, and also learn new skills for recreation or for future employment but how can this be achieved?
    On-line courses and support groups like TP are flexible and available at any time, but this is not the same as actually meeting real people in a social setting. The person being cared for could go to a Day Centre or an Elder Care Centre while the carer takes time out for themselves to study, or enjoy a sporting activity or art class etc. This may not be practical, if the person being cared for can't or won't leave the house.
    An alternative, would be a Carers' Group, with classes and activities taking place in community centres near to where people actually live, so that the carer doesn't need to leave the house for so long in order to travel to the class. A relative or friend could then perhaps look after the vulnerable person and keep in touch by mobile phone if an emergency arises.
    Local Family Centres in Urban Areas have been quite successful in encouraging parents with young children back into education and have also given them new confidence if they want to look for work later on. Sometimes the journey to an Adult Education Class makes it impossible for people to take part, especially if they don't have their own car and the public transport is expensive or inconvenient.
    Red tape certainly does put people off volunteering to work with children or vulnerable adults, but we do need to protect those who can't speak up for themselves. Maybe some of the rules and regulations are a bit over the top and could be relaxed a little without compromising safety. An hour or so off would be so beneficial to a carer, and would help them to cope with the difficulties of caring.
    Another problem might be the cost of a course and free carers' courses or concessions on the fees would help. If getting away for a while helped someone cope with caring for a little longer and also prepared them to return to work later on, then surely any money would be well spent.
    I would value any ideas or views about providing new Learning Opportunuties for Carers, as I want to make suggestions at our Volunteers' meetings.
    Thankyou Karen and Lila for your helpful contributions and I will try to keep you informed how I'm getting on.
    Kayla
     
  9. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Hi Kayla - you've had me thinking on this one!!!! (A bit quiet at work this morning!;) ) ... started along the lines of 'roving tutors' (almost a 'tutorial buddy' for the carer who would actually visit at home - so the 'volunteer' would be directly for the carer not the cared for) .. and no logistics to worry about ....

    Combination of on-line/distance learning and small tutor groups ..... if the carer was able to accommodate the group in their own home .... not ideal maybe .... but personally if I were feeling isolated I would rather have one person coming to me and have some interaction within 'my own four walls' than none at all ......

    How about some 'telephone networking' - 'Book Club' ideas could be run that way - at least it would be another human voice to converse with on a common theme......?

    Going back to your reference to a 'volunteer network' - do you have a local 'Volunteer Bureau' - or is that essentially what you're trying to set up ...?

    Anyway, if any of that little ramble helps .....

    Good on yer! Love, Karen, x
     
  10. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Hi Kayla

    Just to let you know how it works for me. I have carers from Crossroads coming in for two hours, two afternoons a week. Crossroads is a service for carers, so the carer has to be assessed by SS. The carers are from all walks of life, one of ours is a retired nurse, the other used to work in NHs They are all security checked.

    I've joined U3A, which runs groups in people's own homes. Subjects depend on the availability of volunteer tutors/group leaders.

    I belong to a book group, and was studying philosophy, but I've recently given that up. I'm just too stressed to concentrate at the moment. I'm now deciding what else to do.

    It costs £12 a year to join U3A, then you can go to as many groups as you like, for no extra cost. John actually went to the painting group until this year. He enjoyed it, but he's deteriorated so much, it wasn't fair on the tutor.

    It works for me. No pressure, no exams, little cost, and if I don't feel like going, I don't
     
  11. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    621
    Kent
    Dear Karen,
    Thankyou for your suggestions. I like the idea of a teacher making home visits to carers and helping small groups in somebody's house. Already health visitors and other professionals assess the needs of families in their own homes, so why not have Home Tutors as well?
    It might help young carers who are missing out on vital education or give self confidence to people who have spent years at home caring for a relative. If it would help a carer to return to work or resume their previous life, then the money would be well spent.
    Family Centres are already using a variety of schemes to help young mothers in urban areas to access education, so it does not seem unreasonable for learning opportunites to be given to carers, who are providing valuable care in the community.
    Kayla
     
  12. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    621
    Kent
    Dear Skye,
    Thankyou for your suggestions. The U3A seems like a really good idea and very good value for money. It seems like it could be used as self-help group with people passing on their knowledge and experience to other people. I belong to a Book Group which meets in members' homes and it costs nothing at all to run. Everyone takes it turns to have the meeting in their house and the books can always be borrowed from the local library instead of buying them. There are also Art Groups in the area which are held in local community halls or in members' homes.
    It is good that you have some time off when carers come in, but I wonder if this time is of your choosing, or when it can be fitted in?
    There is a local Volunteers' Bureau, but I'm not sure if arranges anything for carers. I think that carers are a forgotten group and I would like to raise awareness of all their needs in my own area if I can.
    Kayla
     
  13. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Hi Kayla

    I chose when I have the cares in. I chose the U3A groups I wanted to join, and asked for carers for those times. If I decide to join another group I can ask to have my times changed. As long as I stick to my 4 hours a week, I can take them any time. They even operate evenings and weekends.
     
  14. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    I expect that the people in the babysitting circles were on average younger and stronger than the people in carers' groups, and it's a lot easier to take someone's 2-year-old to the toilet than someone's 62- or 92-year-old.

    Lila
     

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