Carer schools in Norway: information and training measures for relatives and carers of people living with dementia

The Norwegian Dementia plan aims to promote the development of good, flexible and tailored municipal health and care services with focus on prevention, timely diagnosis, post-diagnostic follow-up, daily activity, housing and education. People with dementia and their families need information about dementia, support, and access to arenas where they can meet others in the same situation. Therefore, grants were established that all municipalities can apply for to participate in an educational programme of “Carer schools" and support groups. A manual for establishing the measure in the municipalities was developed and implemented nationally through the grants. The municipalities receive material for information and guidance. 66 % of the municipalities participated in the programme and arranged the courses in 2018/2019.

Regional measures were also established. “Meeting for coping” provides courses for people with early onset dementia together with their partners, and “Time to be young” provides information and an arena for children of people with dementia. A national summer camp is arranged for the youngest children together with the parent who does not have dementia.

Courses tailored to carers from ethnical minority groups and sami people, and for people with intellectual disability, have been developed and implemented, also through e-learning. Carers can also attend courses to get guidance in how to tell their stories to support other carers.

Family members who have followed the educational programmes and different courses are systematically evaluated and have in general been very positive. Examples of common statements from participants are: "I feel better prepared to meet the future" (person with dementia). "We travel back feeling richer both individually and as a couple" (carer). "I am more motivated to be open both towards my family and friends, and to seek help when necessary" (young carer).