Weavers - support along the dementia caring journey
Inspiring health promotion: Our stories
The Weavers program is a free, personalised peer to peer support program which aims to build preventive/protective factors for carers while helping them to regain a sense of control and improve ‘balance’ between the demands of caring and life quality.
The program matches carers with a Weaver (volunteer) who can ‘walk alongside them’ to find ways that suit them to cope with the ongoing challenges of the caring journey.
Why did you develop your project?
- The Cognitive Assessment and Pathways Service saw families coming through the system with limited support and wondered if there was a better way to support carers. Searching for a solution we found Weavers – a peer-to-peer carer support program.
- We developed a partnership to bring the program to the North West for families with a loved one living with dementia.
What did you do? What worked well?
- We listened to what carers were finding difficult around their ongoing caring journey.
- The program currently has five carers who are supported by Weavers through regular “learning lunches” whilst also having open access to a nominated member of Care Beyond Cure and the Tasmanian Health Service.
- The relationships created between carer and Weaver have been wonderful to observe and beneficial not just for the carers but also for our dementia clients.
What did not work so well? What lessons were learned?
- The recruitment of carers and Weavers has been slow to date.
- As we’ve worked with carers and their loved ones, we’ve discovered the importance of mentioning the Weavers program several times throughout the carers journey because each carer needs support at different times.
What did the project achieve? What’s the outcome, or impact?
- The program is now offered in many parts of Australia.
- The Weavers Evaluation Report found that the program:
- improves the wellbeing of carers
- promotes better access to formal care
- creates meaningful roles for people with lived experience of caring
- promotes involvement of carers in the decisions that affect them and the people they care for
- creates better social connections.
How are the principles of Working in Health Promoting Ways reflected in your project?
A partnership was developed between the THS, Care Beyond Cure (a local charity) and The Australian Centre for Social Innovation.
Experienced carers are recruited, trained and connected to other, often new, carers who help them navigate and negotiate support services, mobilise family and friends, increase community connections, address the guilt, grief and loss associated with caring, find ways to look after their own health and wellbeing, and build resilience and hope for the future.
The Weavers program has been so beneficial that we now offer it to all carers of our dementia patients.
Evidence informed practice
The program was designed by the Australian Centre for Social Innovation.
Formal evaluation of the Weavers program is ongoing as the program continues to be rolled out across Australia.
Weavers are supported to use their unique knowledge and hard-won experience as a resource to support carers one on one in their local community.
Carers learn to be more assertive in their caring role and take control of their situation.
How has working in health promoting ways benefitted your team? And helped your clients?
Rather than have carers reliant upon the THS, we partnered with Weavers which has built capacity within the dementia space while also providing our clients and their carers with sustainable support to maintain resilience.
For the carers, the scheme has built personal coping skills and continues to nurture supportive environments and enhance positive social conditions.
A Working in Health Promoting Ways (WiHPW) inspiring story
Inspiring Health Promotion: Our Stories plans to showcase and share good examples of health promotion and prevention.
We hear great stories of staff working in health promoting ways and know that better practice happens when we share what works.