Alzheimer's Queensland trialled the men-only carer support group in January when it found that while men often attended the normal carer support groups, they would stop attending after two or three months.
“There may be many reasons for this, but I think it was because men had different needs, faced different challenges in their caring roles and/or they may have been embarrassed to talk about certain issues at a female predominant group,” explains Theresa Buys Community Services Manager, Alzheimer's Queensland.
“A trusting friendship is needed before they are willing to share their fears and struggles. These men find the support from each other and having only male facilitators present seems to work best.”
Alzheimer's Queensland trialled the men-only support group last year, and it continues to support around eight male carers – some are grandsons looking after their grandmothers, sons looking after mothers, and husbands looking after their wives.
The men-only support group meets up once a month over barbeque lunches, meals at the local golf club or play a game of pool at a pub or hotel. They also benefit from experienced dementia care staff who facilitate discussions and guest speakers.
“The guest speaker will be either a clinical psychologist, or someone from Carers Queensland or Lifeline and mostly they talk about coping strategies, self-care and/or how to maintain the 'husband -wife', 'son-mother' or even 'grandmother-grandson' relationship as well as the carer relationship,” explains Ms Buys.
“Not only do we provide experienced dementia care staff to facilitate, but we also arrange for professionals to support them, such as clinical psychologists in providing info on how to manage their stress and anxiety.”
Call the Toowoomba Multi Service Centre on 07 4635 2966 for more information.