Thank you to Kevin who chaired this evening's Carers meeting:

As Lisa had a Council meeting that clashed with the DCUK Tuesday evening carers meeting initially tonight’s meeting was cancelled. Recognising the value of these meetings and owning a Zoom account, Lisa agreed for me to host and chair tonight’s meeting.

There were 14 participants who were assured this was a confidential space to air what was on their mind regarding their carer’s role. With no fixed agenda I invited everyone in the virtual room to introduce themselves explain who they care for, naming a major challenge and any positives in their role. This was meant to be an icebreaker, but given some complex issues bought up with each participant having a say, this took us to 8pm.

What was evident everyone’s experience was different. Dementia is not a “one size fits all” and each individual needs to be looked at specifically how this dreadful condition affects them.

There were some common themes. The major challenge is the demands of the loved one with 24/7 care. A carer not being able to even make a private phone call without the cared for person demanding attention.The lack of freedom provides a great strain, which has been accelerated due the Pandemic with fewer options of external activities.

A number of participants mentioned the difficulties of their cared for person being compliant in drinking liquids needing to keep them hydrated. Dr Angela recommended, if water is refused try providing more soups, jellies, sorbets and supply liquids in small glasses.

Everyone was able to find a positive, although for some not so easy to find, It was mentioned how the cared for enjoy certain TV programmes and other activities e.g. arts and crafts for stimulation. For some DCUK Zoom sessions provide an enjoyable social outlet.

It was unanimously agreed the biggest positive is the privilege of caring for a loved one and adding quality to their lives. There was a brief discussion about POA (Power of Attorney). This could be a theme for a future session.

I finished off stating my Harrow Cares Card arrived. This officially identifies me as a carer. I will urge through Lisa that Barnet follows suit.