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Carers' Information Course Spring 2024

This year, again, Chrysalis organised an Information Course for its carers. The course ran over a total of six weeks during the spring with the aim of giving those attending as much information as possible to help them navigate the weeks and months ahead, without having to go searching for it.

Course Content

We began with our chair, Rosie Robson-Tinsley, giving an introduction about both the course and the different types of dementia. Our group of attendees gelled well ‘from the off’; they were interested, interactive, happy to ask questions and comfortable sharing personal experiences. The social aspect to the course, obviously including tea and cake, was equally as important as its content!


We were joined by a GP from Corbridge Medical Centre for our second session. Dr Rob Barker explained that the role of the GP is to recognise a condition, discuss it sensitively with those involved and arrange for onward referral as required. He also impressed upon the group the need to push for annual reviews, both for their loved ones but also for themselves.


In Week 3, we learnt that the psychiatrist’s role involves prescribing any necessary medication and supervising this initially to ensure the patient doesn’t experience any side effects. Once the psychiatrist is happy there are no issues then the patient can revert to the care of their GP. We also looked at the progression of the illness and the changes to expect as well as the new screening tools that are currently being developed, including possible future treatments. In addition, Dr Fairmichael clarified the reasons for seeking a diagnosis.


The following week, we tackled the ‘legal stuff’, namely Wills and Trusts and Lasting Powers of Attorney, with the help of Julie Garbutt, a partner, from Muckle LLP solicitors in Newcastle. Inevitably, the subject matter was challenging for all concerned but it’s good to review one’s circumstances every three to four years and the session did make our attendees reconsider their own specific requirements.


In the penultimate week, we learned about the benefits, including Attendance Allowance, that are available to carers and those living with dementia. Our thanks to Hannah Corcoran of Carers Northumberland and our own trustee, Mike Pottage, for stepping in at the eleventh hour to deliver this session. Often people simply have no idea to what they might be entitled.

Sadly, the course was over all too quickly. In our final week, we were joined by representatives from Alzheimer's Society, Carers Northumberland, Tynedale Hospice and Burn Brae Medical Group. They all kindly brought along some much-appreciated literature and described their individual roles in detail to our attendees. They were even able to assist with some immediate concerns. As one of our delegates put it “a really useful course, very informative, congratulations to Chrysalis once again”.


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