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Suffolk Family Carers

We are a registered charity in touch with approximately 14,239 family carers in Suffolk. For 28 years we have been raising awareness of family carers issues with our partners in health and social care. We ultimately seek to minimise the hardships, difficulties and other challenges family carers face, to raise awareness of family carers and ensure their voices are heard throughout Suffolk. We provide information, advice and guidance to family carers of all ages across Suffolk to help them get the support they need to live fuller lives. We have a range of services to support family carers and provide information and advice to those who are isolated as a result of their caring role. We work with our commissioners, communities and partner organisations to highlight the growing and increasingly complex demands being placed upon family carers and the impact these are having on all aspects of their lives.

8 April 2019
East of England
Local Alliances:
Stowmarket Dementia Action Alliance , Ipswich Dementia Action Alliance , Bury St Edmunds Dementia Action Alliance , Hadleigh Dementia Action Alliance, Needham Market Dementia Action Alliance , Felixstowe Dementia Action Alliance , Newmarket Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Suffolk Family Carers provide family carers of people living with dementia or memory loss with an information and support programme called Caring for Dementia with Confidence.  We provide family carers with a toolkit of techniques and resources to support them in their caring role.  The programme provides family carers with information on ways to regain control in their caring role.  We consider ways to influence decision making, communicate effectively and Action Planning (outcome 1 and 3)

We also provide the family carer with information about other services that may help them including statutory services (outcome 2 and 4).  We provide information to the family carer regarding their rights and entitlements (outcome 4).  This includes information about how to access and plan for a carers assessment, emergency planning, Advance Care Planning and benefits assessments. 

The programme also serves to brings family carers together with others in a similar situation to share ideas, build friendships and reduce isolation (outcome 5 and 6).

Any research opportunities or outcomes are shared with family carers attending the Caring for Dementia with Confidence programme including opportunities for involvement and engagement (outcome 7).   We supply information to family carers regarding assistive technology (outcome 7).

To ensure that referrals are made into our information programme we spend time networking with external partners.  We also work with our commissionsers to ensure that they are aware of the needs of family carers caring for someone living with dementia.  We attend events within the community to highlight the needs of dementia family carers which in turn raises awareness of people living with dementia in the community.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

As an organisation our biggest challenge is to retain and secure funding to continue to offer the services we deliver to family carers.   A big challenge for family carers is sourcing respite care and creating an adequate support network.  We provide family carers with information regarding services that can help them with this, but in a climate of progressive cuts to social care services this remains a huge challenge.

2. Actions

  • Working with our commissioners to raise awareness of the needs of family carers, ensuring their voices are heard and their needs are met.

    Through facilitation of our Caring for Dementia with Confidence Programme and the various contacts that we have with family carers we will ensure that the issues of family carers who care for someone living with dementia are passed on to commissioners responsible for commissioning Dementia Services in Suffolk. We are in a unique position to hear in detail the challenges family carers caring for someone living with dementia have to face on a daily basis. We are aware of issues that make their lives difficult and what support they need to improve their caring role and also the life of the person they are caring for. We will ensure that this information is collated appropriately and shared with commissioners in order for them to commission the most relevant services for people living with dementia and their family as a whole. These needs may vary depending on the communities within which family carers live. We will ensure that we work with and have connections to as many local community groups including Dementia Action Alliances across Suffolk so that we can share information with each other.

  • Delivery of Services for Family Carers looking after someone living with Dementia.

    Suffolk Family Carers is able to provide a family carer of someone living with dementia with a wide array of services to meet their needs.  These include access to an information line which provides someone on hand to answer questions and offer a listening ear.  The Caring for Dementia with Confidence programme provides family carers with information, tools and techniques to support them in their caring role and also offers  family carers a chance to meet with others in a similar situation.  We can also offer wellbeing support to those caring for someone living with dementia.   Wellbeing support focuses on the emotional resilience and wellbeing of the family carer.  We have a Talk and Support for Dementia Project which offers family carers the opportunity to speak with a trained volunteer on a regular basis.  This project supports family carers who may feel isolated for a variety of reasons.  We can offer Moving and Handling tuition to ensure that any family carers who have to assist the person they care for with mobility are doing so safely.  As an organisation we also have regular Family Carers Groups and opportunities for peer support.

  • Work with local communities and external colleagues to ensure that they are aware of available support to enable Family Carers to live fuller lives.

    We ensure that we attend as many networking events and meetings as possible in order to keep up with developments, raise awareness of our services and family carers needs.  We will support as many local Dementia Action Alliances as possible.   We will ensure that our knowledge of local Dementia Services is up-to-date in order to pass on this information to Family Carers and the person they care for  As an organisation we will encourage all of our staff to take part in the Dementia Friends training and become a Dementia Friend.