Online Family Carer Supports

13th March 2020: Family Carer Training and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: In response to the ongoing situation, and if an effort to protect people’s health and well being, all of our face-to-face Insights into Dementia  family carer training courses have been suspended until further notice.

However, all of our online courses are continuing and will continue as normal. So if you are enrolled in our Home Based Care-Home Based Education programme (see below) please continue to participate as usual.

Or, if you would like to apply to attend our Home Based Care-Home Based Education programme in the future, please see details on how to apply in the Online Family Carer Training Course section, further down on this page.

We have also just launched a new Online Support Group for Family Carers of People with Dementia.

We offer training to family carers looking after a loved one with dementia. Family carers can either be the primary carers for the person with dementia or those indirectly involved in caring. For example, you might be worried about how a parent is coping with providing care for another family member.

This Family Carer Training programme aims to develop family carers’ knowledge of Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s, and their caring skills, to enable them to respond more confidently to their family members’ needs. It also provides opportunities for carers to meet other carers and share their experiences.

Delivered by our experienced staff members, the course will provide you with new information on dementia and give you time and space to reflect on your own caring experience, whilst listening to and learning from other carers’ experiences.

The course is delivered in a warm, safe environment where confidentiality of all is valued and respected.

We deliver the course in both face-to-face and fully online formats. You can find out more about the courses on this leaflet by clicking here Family Carer Training Leaflet 2020

Online Support Group for Family Carers

We have recently launched a new Online Support Group for Family Carers of People with Dementia to help alleviate the increasing pressure points on family carers during Covid-19.

This online support group will be a dedicated space for family carers to find information and resources of interest to them. This will be like our usual face-to-face support groups – but now everything will be online.

This is a space for family carers to:

  • Talk and share openly with each other, to support each other;
  • Ask questions and talk about topics of interest to you;
  • Access Discussion Forums and a weekly live video meeting;
  • Get support and guidance from our Dementia Advisers and our expert tutors

In addition, each Online Support Group will be a manageable size so people can support each other and carers can log on whenever they want meaning that this support is available 24/7. A Support Group will last for 20 weeks and we aim to establish a Group of 30 carers x 10 groups – 300 people.

People with dementia and their family carers who want to avail of this new service please contact:

  • Fill out this Electronic Application Form
  • Email onlinesupportgroup@alzheimer.ie
  • Contact the Alzheimer National Helpline which is open six days a week Monday to Friday 10am–5pm and Saturday 10am–4pm on 1800 341 341. Email at helpline@alzheimer.ie or via Live Chat at www.alzheimer.ie

Online Family Carer Training Courses

We are recruiting as normal for our Online Family Training Carer Course called Home-Based Care-Home-Based Education.

This will feature the exact same content as the face-to-face course but it will be held exclusively online and can be completed from the comfort of your own home. Places are strictly limited.

Upcoming Course Dates

We run these courses regularly, and once you submit your application, we will contact you as soon as a place becomes available.

The course then runs for six weeks and there are 20 places for family carers on each course.

Please note, this course is being delivered as normal.

  • Week 1: Induction and Orientation
  • Week 2: Dementia and Changing Relationships
  • Week 3: Communication and Changes in Behaviour
  • Week 4: Healthy Living
  • Week 5: Person Centred Care
  • Week 6: Looking After the Carer
  • Week 7: Course Review and Next Steps

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

For frequently asked questions please click here

Book Your Place

If the course is of interest to you, please click here to complete the form online.

Alternatively, please download the Course Application Form Please complete the form and return it by email to familycarertraining@alzheimer.ie, or by post to The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Training Department, Temple Road, Blackrock, Co Dublin.

The development of Home Based Care – Home Based Education was funded by an Erasmus+ grant 2015 – 2017

Student Profile

Read a student profile (Phoebe Duvall)

Learning Technologies Awards 2017

Members of our Learning and Development team, Julie Greene, Christine Carr, Fergus Timmons and Davina Smith with our Bronze Award which we picked up at the Learning Technologies Awards in London in November 2017.

The Award was in the Category of Best Online Distance Learning Programme and was recognition of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s Home-Based Care-Home-Based Education online course for family carers looking after a loved one with dementia.

The course was one of the products of our Erasmus+ project which ASI coordinated, and featured partner organisations from Belgium and Norway. The course has proven to be a great success, and features the same content as the face-to-face course, but is held exclusively online and can be completed from the comfort of your own home.

The award was made at the prestigious Learning Technologies Awards 2017 in London on Wednesday night. This is a fantastic achievement and to put this in context, these awards receive more than 400 entries from all over the world. It total, 30 different countries took part and the event was attended by over 800 people.

IITD National Training Awards 2018

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland won a National Training Award for Excellence in Digital Learning at the Irish Institute of Training and Development (IITD) Gala on Friday, April 20th 2018.

The prestigious honour which is in recognition of the Erasmus+ funded Home Based Care – Home Based Education online training course for family carers looking after a loved one with dementia, is the first time ASI have won a national training award.

It comes on the back of winning Bronze for Best Online Distance Learning programme at the Learning Technologies Awards in London in November 2017.

ASI fended off some strong competition in the category of Excellence in Digital Education from organisations such as FDB Insurance, Sun Life Financial, the Public Appointments Service and Ulster Bank.

Tutor Profiles

Mary Hickey, Maeve Quigley and Julie Greene

Mary Hickey

I have been working with the Alzheimer Society since 2007. I came to the Society from a HR background, having worked in IBEC for many years. My mother had Lewy Body dementia and together with other family members I was closely involved in her care.

From this experience, I had an awareness of the demands of dementia care and the unfortunate dearth of services for families in Ireland at that time.

I established Rose Cottage in 2008 as a drop-in facility for persons with dementia. Sadly, our clients are increasingly younger with a number now in their early 50s. For this reasons, we place a strong emphasis on providing meaningful activities. This year, we introduced a number of new outdoor activities, including gentle hill-walking in the Dublin and Wicklow mountains.

South Dublin County Council kindly gave us a large allotment in Tymon Park in Tallaght and we now have a gardening programme for persons with dementia every Friday morning.

The work done by the clients on the allotment has been extraordinary. We hope that next year, we will be ready to produce our own salads, fruits, herbs and flowers for the centre and for the clients to take home.

I began training family carers on the Family Carer Training programme in 2009. It is a fantastic project and one that I believe can really change the day to day lived experience of the person with dementia. I love meeting family carers as a group and seeing how their perspective of dementia gradually changes over the course of the six week programme.

Since 2015, I have been facilitating a monthly Support Group for persons with dementia in Dublin City Centre. This is my ‘training’, the place where I learn about dementia and learn about the real care needs of people with the condition.

The support the members of the group offer one another is really extraordinary. Each time we meet, I am amazed at their great strength and desire to remain positive about life and, in particular, by their humour.

I hope I can continue to be involved with the various ASI projects that support persons with dementia and their families in the years ahead. Since I joined the Society in 2007, there has been a growing awareness around dementia in Ireland due in no small part to the work of ASI. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have been part of that.

 

Julie Greene

Hello, my name is Julie Greene and I am currently a Tutor for the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, facilitating the Family Carer Training and Dementia Training for Staff.

Becoming a Tutor for the ASI has been a great personal experience for me.

The biggest plus has been the people I have met. During Family Carer Training I met a lot of people from different walks of life, each touched by someone they love having Dementia. My own personal experience of dealing with a family member with dementia has allowed me to better understand what carers go through.

At the start of the first evening session most people were quite reserved, but by the end of week 5 we could have done with a weekend away so everyone could share all their stories and experiences.

It was emotional at times and the odd tear was shed but there was also a lot of laughter and humour too, especially as the group opened up more. Being there and being able to help, even in the smallest way possible, was a very rewarding experience.

Initially, I was more apprehensive about tutoring staff. I had images from old, of my own years working as a student nurse, sitting in training trying hard to stay alert!. Fortunately, I had no need to worry, all members of staff I met were engaging, interested and eager to learn and happy to share their personal experiences.

My own experience of working in the health sector allowed me to relate better with the staff. The diversity of staff from day care, home care, bus drivers, mangers and cooks was brilliant and I also learnt so much from them.

I can honestly say I have enjoyed this role very much and would like to thank a few people who have helped me on this journey.

Firstly Fergus Timmons, Christine Carr, Christine O’Rouke (fellow tutor) and all the staff and families I have met along the way that have made my job so enjoyable.

Face-to-Face Courses

Insights into Dementia – Informing and Empowering Family Carers

We offer the course at various venues around Ireland. They usually run in the evenings from 7.00pm to 9.30pm.

We cover the following topics in our courses:

  • Week 1 Introduction to Dementia & Looking After Yourself as a carer
  • Week 2 Accessing Information & Changing Relationships
  • Week 3 Communication & Engaging in Life Activities
  • Week 4 Responsive Behaviour & Safety at Home
  • Week 5 Assisting with Personal Care & Nutrition and Eating Well
  • Week 6 Care Delivery Action Plan & Certificate Presentation

Upcoming Face-to-Face Courses in 2020

Galway – The Menlo Park Hotel, Headford Road, Galway, Wednesdays 7.00pm – 9.30pm , from 12th February until 18th March 2020 inclusive. Cancelled until further notice

Kildare – The Westgrove Hotel, Abbeylands, Clane, Co Kildare. Mondays 7.00pm – 9.30pm, from 10th February until 16th March 2020 inclusive. Cancelled until further notice

Wicklow – Arklow Bay Hotel, Sea Road, Arklow, Co Wicklow. Mondays 7.00pm -9.30pm, from 24th February until 30th March 2020 inclusive. Cancelled until further notice

Dublin South – The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, National Office, Temple Road, Blackrock, Co Dublin. Wednesdays 7.00pm – 9.30pm, from 11th March until 15th April 2020 inclusive. Cancelled until further notice

Book Your Place

If the course is of interest to you, please download this Course Application Form and return it by email familycarertraining@alzheimer.ie or to the Training Department, Temple Road, Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Alternatively click here to complete the form online.

If you have any questions please call our National Helpline on 1800 341 341

Student Profile

Click here to read a student profile (Karen McWeeney)

Participant Feedback

Feedback has been extremely positive from participants who have completed the course earlier this year. Some of their comments included:

The facilitator was extremely knowledgeable and very good at imparting information. It was also great to meet other carers who are dealing with the same issues as me

All areas of the course gave me great insight and totally changed me as a carer

Overall the course was superb. It has given me a lot more confidence. Thank you so much. Brilliant

Family Carers Testimonials

Alison Hood

“Overall, the course has made me much more understanding of the disease and has really helped with my patience when interacting with the person I am caring for. I let things go more if the person gets confused and I don’t ask as many questions. I really enjoyed the course and thank you especially to Grace.”

Siobhan Dalton

“I was very happy when I gained a place on the course because I knew I could be sure that the information would be accurate and cover every aspect of caring for a person with dementia. While doing the course, I felt the fact that it was online was a real help in being able to share my situation with others on the Forums and in the Video Chat because it offered a relative degree of anonymity. As the weeks progressed I felt all participants shared more of their experiences, which was very helpful. Stand out moments in the course were always when I learned to understand dementia from the perspective of the person with dementia and I have hopefully changed some of my caring practices towards the person with dementia to improve their quality of life and reduce the amount of responsive behaviours, which in turn helps everyone. All the knowledge I have gleaned from the course has been very relevant and has helped to resolve a lot of the day to day issues that have arisen in my caring situation. The main improvement for me is that I feel more confident in the way I care. I feel confidence is so important when making present and future decisions. It can be a lonely place making decisions for the people you love and it can be a bit of a power struggle, so gaining confidence from the experiences and advice of other people has been invaluable to me.”

Anita Lovett

“During this course I found I could ask questions, make statements and describe how I was feeling with no reprisals or guilt. During the course it was great to communicate openly and see how others were dealing with their situations and the course gave tips and hints along the way and constantly asked questions which made me think more! We were made to feel we were in a safe place to openly discuss our experiences and were complimented on our submissions and ideas for sharing. I have really enjoyed the course and commend the facilitators for their fantastic knowledge”

Lauri Duffy

“Before the course I was more concerned about the future than I am now. I sometimes felt a little despondent, but now not so. Because of my generation I was by no means at ease in my first on-line course and did encounter some problems in familiarising myself with procedures. But I survived, and would not rule out something similar in the future. I am more at ease and aware that there is help out there. I think I am now much more tolerant of my difficulties and better able to deal with them. I certainly appreciate the benefits I have derived from this venture.”

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