An Australian researcher has designed an initiative called the Caring for Carers of People with Dementia Project in order to better support informal carers.
Dr Annie Banbury from CQUniversity said, based on feedback during community workshops, it was apparent that carers found it difficult to access services, in particular via telehealth.
“These days, carers require a certain level of health literacy skills to find out about the appropriate services, such as phone help lines and to navigate online systems,” Banbury said.
She added that while the recently introduced consumer-directed system is a good way to personalise care services, it can be confusing for older Australians to understand.
Banbury cited an example where a working husband had to handle the interactions with health services on behalf of the family, as he’d become the main carer for his wife. This meant he had to be familiarised with what services were out there and how to access them – health literacy skills that he didn’t previously need.
Banbury said it can be confronting for people who are suddenly thrust into becoming a carer for someone with dementia.
“The skills and knowledge they need to accumulate quite quickly can be overwhelming,” she said.
She said the project aimed to bring together people at different stages of the care journey through video-conferencing to help make them feel less isolated.
“Collectively, group members may have a huge amount of knowledge and experience that can be shared and, importantly, they are connected with others who are in similar situations,” she stated.
Banbury said that while people want to care for their family in their own home for as long as possible, they often wish they had sought help earlier.
“Alternatively, if there is an earlier assessment and arrangements can be put in place earlier, it can help to avoid advanced-stage issues requiring resolution in a crisis scenario,” she said.
Banbury joins us now for more insight.
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