Take Care was a series of informal and friendly evening workshops in autumn 2016 & spring 2017 specifically aimed at supporting carers of people with dementia through drama and improvisation:
- to learn helpful and inspiring ways of enhancing a care role
- to have fun
- to meet people in a similar situation to share experience and support
Sessions took place for 2 hours on fortnightly Monday evenings – carers were welcome to come along and give it a try, have a glass of wine or a cup of tea, take a break, meet others in an informal setting and enjoy…
Content & structure of the sessions:
Following a pilot season in autumn 2016, we developed a structure over six fortnightly sessions. These were designed to follow on from each other, or be enjoyed on a one-off basis.
Each session began with a welcome circle, followed by a well-being warm up. After this we had a couple of exploratory sessions, with a break in between, geared towards adapting to changes in character, distraction, empathy and dealing with awkward situations. We conclude with a cool down and moment for reflection.
What participants said:
“Very charismatic leader, taking people out of their comfort zone, but in a safe way. Very professional and high quality tutor.” Participant from the Alzheimer’s Society
“Using drama as a tool to help both carers and people with dementia is a creative concept and one that worked. I liked the way that the workshop linked ‘living with dementia’ into the session and gave people a creative output either verbally, through drama or written”. A second participant from the Alzheimer’s Society
“The Care for Carers workshop at Farnham Maltings was a breath of fresh air – lots of laughter, lots of fun and above all a lovely group of people. Kath Boddy made everyone feel very welcome and Sophie Russell led an imaginative workshop which cleverly drew out our creativity. A great evening – thank you.” Right at Home, GF.
“This 70 year old quite taken by doing something frivolous (in the nicest sense) for the first time in yonks. A highly imaginative and entertaining structure to last night’s session. A big thank you.” Participant
“.. the session was extremely liberating… I was very glad I came..” Participant
“.. my sister and I laughed til we cried on one of the exercises.. that has to be a good thing..” Participant
What is Take Care?
In the sessions we looked at ways that the tricks of an actors’ trade – improvisation techniques which have been used for centuries by serious actors and clowns alike to get themselves out of awkward situations – such as when another actor gives them the wrong line, or a piece of scenery malfunctions.
We believe that by transferring actors’ skills to a care situation we can allow carers to feel freed up to explore more interesting possibilities and equip them with the ‘yes’ approach to an unfamiliar situation, such as when someone with dementia retreats into an alternative reality and would benefit from their carer ‘going along with it’ for a bit.
Take Care gives carers some opportunity to meet other carers over a glass of wine. This is a gentle introduction to these techniques with an experienced, fun and understanding workshop leader; no experience necessary.
This work was made possible with seed funding from Right at Home (Guildford and Farnham), Farnham Town Council and Farnham Lions Club. Take Care is part of our Care for Carers programme.