A new programme focusing on the health and well being of carers
We are constantly amazed by the resilience of those caring for a family member living with dementia. In our Creative Spaces outdoor groups, we see how carers instinctively create their own peer support and notice how access to the outdoors is helping them to cope better with issues such like anxiety and frustration.
Creative Spaces for Carers is a project that uses techniques to help dementia carers look after their health. When looking after someone else, good personal health shouldn’t be underestimated. If your own health is affected through exhaustion and stress, then it’s unlikely that you will be able to provide the quality of care that you want. Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s essential. You are acknowledging that you need to be in good health if you’re going to provide good care.
In our new nine-session carers programme, participants choose from a suite of activities. These are tried and tested approaches that help them to cope with emotions such as anxiety and anger. It’s all part of giving carers back a level of control over their lives and getting them to think about themselves and what’s important to them.
All the activities are nature-based, such as walking or playing outdoor games, making wildlife feeders, bug motels or sowing seeds. Participants paint, create, explore, chat, laugh and generally just be themselves and experience positive health benefits too. For example, increased oxygen is vital to our heart, muscles and brain and can help reduce levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and blood pressure. Nature provides the environment and materials whilst we provide the opportunity and ongoing support with the activities, plus free resources and guidance materials available free online and in hard copy. Those who have participated so far have been very encouraging in their feedback:
“I noticed that in just those few minutes everything else stops, it stops you from worrying about the day to day, you know those things that may be on your mind constantly, it just stops you”
“I feel a lot different now, more confident and you know, more with it”
The project runs until February 2021 in Cornwall and Devon; keep an eye on the carers page on our website for details of where and when.