In August, Brunelcare ran the first of 3 of dementia information sessions at Robinson House care home in Bristol.

The sessions are designed to provide information and support to relatives of people living with dementia. Brunelcare’s Dementia Lead, Stuart Wright, delivers the sessions with the aim of helping people:

  • better understand dementia
  • make the most of visiting a loved one who has dementia
  • raise awareness of dementia support
  • signpost to additional information
  • answer any questions they may have about dementia
  • give attendees a space to talk about their personal experiences and feelings

Although each session has a pre-planned topic, Stuart is keen to let the attendees’ questions shape the agenda so they are as helpful as possible.

“We regularly ask the people attending the sessions, ‘what do you want to know?’ We recognise it’s important that relatives have a space to talk about how they feel and about their unique circumstances should they want to.”

Each session can have between 15 and 20 attendees, providing a space where people can learn about dementia and express how they feel about their personal circumstances. Through experience, Stuart also recognises that relatives may benefit from a 121 session to discuss their personal experiences.

“Although sharing feelings as part of a group can be extremely helpful for some - it isn’t for everyone. During the sessions I let people know that if they want to discuss anything in confidence we can have a 121 meeting after the session.”

Stuart has worked in the health and social care industry for more than 30 years, starting his journey working with people with learning disabilities and behavioural issues before specialising in dementia care.

The relative information sessions were initially set up to provide information and support to people who have relatives in Brunelcare’s care homes and extra care housing but have now been extended to include the wider community.

“For the relatives of people living in Robinson House who attended the session, it was an opportunity to talk through how they felt, concerns for the future, social care policy and Brunelcare’s approach to dementia care. For people from the wider community we covered a range of topics including how to support their loved one and addressing behavioural changes.”

Stuart has worked at Brunelcare for 16 years and also independently as a Dementia Care Consultant. In this role Stuart developed human rights frameworks and standards for people living with Dementia and has presented at conferences across the UK.

One of the key focuses of the sessions was to ‘reframe’ how people view their loved ones once they have been diagnosed with dementia.

“An important part of the sessions is helping people ‘reframe’ how they see and interact with their loved one after their diagnosis. It’s about reminding people that although their relationship with that person may change, they have a life still to live together. Relatives can feel distressed when they don’t understand what it’s like having dementia. Helping people understand more about dementia can drastically improve how they relate to their loved one, which is why I’m so passionate about running these sessions.”

Stuart’s plans to continue running these sessions to provide support to as many people as possible.

“Speaking to people at the first set of sessions and hearing their feedback is just a reminder that there is a need to provide this as often as possible.”

The next set of sessions will be held at Robinson House on Saturday 21st September, at 11am and at 1:30pm.

To book a place at a session, or if you have any questions, email becky.knight@brunelcare.org.uk or call 01275 544 452.

To contact Brunelcare for more information about our services, click: https://www.brunelcare.org.uk/contact-us/

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