Meaningful ME and YOU – developing a learning program for families and friends

Family carers are integral care partners.  Their support and engagement are key in achieving positive outcomes for people living with dementia.  They ensure physical and emotional well-being for the person being cared for, facilitate communication and understanding within the care team and for the person being cared for which in turn also ensures staff safety.

Support for carers often focuses on processes to ensure adequate funding, respite care and counselling support.  These are all important factors for consideration.  Through our own personal experience and engagement with our care partners, Meaningful Care Matters has increasingly found that many family caregivers, particularly with the transition of their loved one to long term/permanent care home have many queries in relation to person centred dementia care. 

In recognition of this unmet need, and as an addition to our Butterfly Approach® model of care, Meaningful Care Matters has developed a program for carers called Meaningful Me and You. 

When you care for someone else, it’s easy to lose sight of your own health and wellbeing.  In some cases, the focus on caring for others results in losing what has meaning and what matters for you. Meaning and mattering is more important than ever.  Meaningful Me and You provides support and up-to-date, relevant information in a group environment, where carers can share experiences.  The program is run in a series of sessions which offers carers the opportunity to share experiences in a confidential and friendly environment with others in a similar situation.

The program consists of the following sessions:

  • What is Dementia? A short synopsis of what dementia is and how this impacts life, particularly with the various phases and types of dementia. 
  • What does living life with dementia ‘Look, Sound and Feel Like’? This module is stories of people living with dementia and carers of people with dementia talking about their lived experiences and how life looks, sounds, and feels as they journey through living life.  It is practical, emotional and is based on lived truth.
  • The art and heart of caring.  This module focusses on aspects of how to care both practically for the person you support as well as maintaining an emotional connection. 
  • Communicating with meaning when it matters most: The art of communication is always there, the way we communicate with each other may change and this module looks at how we can continue to communicate in a way which is meaningful.
  • Ways to spend time together: This module will look at how do you continue to create activities of meaning and engagement, what this could look like and how to make it a reality as a part of everyday living.
  • Making Sense of Difficult Situations: One of the greatest challenges is the perception of behaviours which cause frustration and increased stress for people caring for someone living with dementia.  Meaningful Me and You will look at the way we can approach this differently and strategies to de-escalate and understand the feelings behind the response, thereby meeting that need.
  • Focussing on You and Your Needs: You are important, you matter and the most important strategy and support system to continue the caring journey is to ensure you make the time to focus on you and your needs.

The key benefits of Meaningful Me and You for family carers includes:

  • Restoring individuals’ sense of meaning and purpose through connecting with other carers as an outlet of support
  • Building support networks
  • Learning from personal responses and emotions and how to integrate these into positive outcomes for the challenges faced in caring for someone with dementia
  • Loving the person where they are at whilst continuing to love ‘myself’ for the way my love and relationship changes throughout the dementia experience
  • Enhancing understandings of complex situations and needs
  • Improving my mental health and wellness whilst learning strategies to reduce my stress.

Supporting family carers and fostering collaborative partnerships is in the best interest of health and social care providers as well.  This program can be facilitated at care homes and in the community.  Ideally in person is best, but there is also the option of facilitating online as well.  If you would like to know more about this innovative new program, please contact us on

OT (Australia)
MCM Managing Director
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