Who Cares?

Who Cares? A spotlight on Social Care in Walsall

Welcome to Who Cares?
Who Cares? is a Walsall Council initiative which aims to give people an insight into some of the varied work and projects being carried out as well as dispel some of the myths surrounding social care.

Tag archives for Accord Group

Who Cares? Put yourself in Sheila’s shoes

Twitter followers will be given a real time insight into the non-stop demands of a carer today (Tuesday 22 May) through Walsall Council’s Who Cares? initiative.

Sheila Haynes, who is a full time carer for her husband Ron, 76, who suffers from vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s, has agreed to let officers Tweet from her home as she sets about a typical morning.

Sheila, aged 68, has been caring for retired haulage boss Ron for the last four years, and says she is “on the go” all day because of his condition.

“It’s hard to describe to someone what it’s like – unless they were a fly on the wall they wouldn’t have a clue,” she said.

Officers will tweet from the couple’s home this morning (Tuesday 22 May) as part of the week-long Who Cares? initiative which is focusing on carers, dementia and mental health awareness and the support being given to people with learning and physical disabilities to come back to Walsall to live.

Running throughout this week (21 May – 25 May), the multi-media event will feature the daily demands and challenges that are faced by thousands of carers and the partnership work between the council, Age UK Walsall and Accord Group in developing specialised dementia support and advice.

There will be also be live Tweets from a carers’ consultation event in Bentley, as people share their experiences and expertise.

And Twitter will also be used to give people a taste of a typical day at Walsall’s new Independent Living Centre – the £300,000 joint social care and health investment which showcases the latest technology, state-of-the-art equipment and support available for disabled people of all ages.

The help that is available for Walsall residents across the borough’s communities will also be highlighted.

Suzanne Joyner, Walsall Council head of community care, said: “Sheila is one of the many carers we have spoken to as part of our consultation as the council and NHS Walsall work together to launch a new carers’ strategy in June.

“She spoke very honestly and openly about the difficulties of caring for someone with this condition and now she wants to give carers a voice through Twitter.

“Her situation will strike a chord with the thousands of carers who know exactly how she feels and the Tweets will also give an insight to those who have absolutely no idea of the selfless role that carers play in our borough.”

You can follow out tweets using the twitter hashtag  #whocareswalsall

If you don’t have a twitter account you can follow the tweets live and join in via ‘Cover it Live’ on the Who Cares? blog http://whocareswalsall.org.uk/?page_id=206 and the Walsall Council website http://cms.walsall.gov.uk/social_care_and_health.htm

Who Cares? Support for dementia carers from Age UK Walsall

Carers who live with and look after someone with dementia can find a range of support and advice from Age UK Walsall to help them take a break from their demanding role.

A carer can refer into the Dementia Carers’ Support Service as long as the cared for person has had a formal diagnosis. They do not have to be over the age of 55, it’s the diagnosis not the age that meets the criteria.

It is difficult for people to understand the role of a carer unless they have been in that position which is often a 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year role.

Carers can become absolutely exhausted and those who care for someone with dementia will tell you that they have a very demanding role and they very often overlook their own well being.”

The diagnosis itself can be devastating as people try to come to terms with the fact that their loved one is not going to get better. And they miss the person that their loved one used to be.

They can also go into denial and this can be difficult for the poeple they are caring for – particularly if their condition means they have some days when they do have clarity.”

Support workers are all trained in this specialist field and work with families to come up with coping mechanisms that best suit the needs of all involved.

Carers often feel terribly guilty about taking a break, no matter how short, but their health and well being should not be overlooked.

It could be that someone just wants the opportunity to go and get their hair done or meet friends for an uninterrupted coffee and we can support them to enjoy this time for themselves.

We also work with the person with dementia and currently support people to go on the golf course, play snooker, or enjoy a pint in their local pub. Their carers may not want to take part in these activities and, the person with dementia may not want them to either.

Advisers who are part of the pathways for life team and are based at Age UK Walsall, 10 The Bridge, this is a drop in or telephone for anyone who needs advice whether it is the carer, cared for or just a family member.

Age UK Walsall is also working in partnership with Walsall Council and Accord Group to offer Pathways 4 Life.

The unique service offers people in Walsall with dementia, their carers and family, specialised support and advice from different bases across the borough.

Six café-style support groups will be held monthly in Aldridge, Pelsall, Brownhills, Willenhall, Pleck and Blakenall, providing people with vital advice about the condition and an opportunity to socialise in an informal setting.

In addition, two dementia support workers will also be based at Manor Hospital, where they will ensure that people diagnosed with dementia get support as early as possible.

Dementia advisers who are part of the Pathways 4 Life team are also based at Age UK Walsall, at 10 The Bridge.
People can drop in or telephone for advice – whether it is the carer, cared for or a family member.

To contact the Dementia Carers’ Support Service call Val on 01922 638825 or email val@ageukwalsall.org.uk.

People can also visit the website at www.ageukwalsall.org.uk.
Pathways 4 Life can be contacted via the dementia advisers on 09122 707898/707899 or email advisors@ageukwalsall.org.uk

Who Cares? Borough dementia cafes

People with dementia and their carers can meet in a safe and welcoming environment to share their experiences and expertise.

The free dementia café service is being offered through the Pathways 4 Life partnership between Walsall Council, Accord Group and Age UK Walsall.

The cafes running this week are as follows:

Wednesday 23 May 2012  2-4pm
Brownhills Café
Brownhills Community Association,
Community Activity Centre,
Chester Road North,
Thursday 24 May 2012  6-8pm
Pelsall Café,
Old Vicarage,
Old Vicarage Close,
Friday 25 May 2012  6-8pm
Walsall Café
Apna Ghar,
Ford Street,

For more information email the Dementia Café co-ordinator at dementiacafes@accordgroup.org.uk or call 07793 699 141 03 0300 111 7000