Carer and patient

Prior to the pandemic, Karen Cromwell was running a successful business, but when her work dried up almost overnight she found herself with lots of time on her hands.

Like many people during the pandemic Lockdown, Karen Cromwell found herself with lots of time on her hands. Prior to the pandemic, Karen had built and was running a successful business offering stress management courses to businesses and public organisations across the country. However, once the offices and buildings closed during Lockdown, Karen found that her work dried up almost overnight.

During this time, Karen was asked by a friend to help her to care for her friend’s elderly father who was living with dementia. Karen had previously worked in the caring profession running her own business and therefore was keen to assist her friend. Over the coming weeks and months, Karen found herself becoming more and more impassioned by the challenges facing people living with dementia as well as their carers, but she was frustrated by the lack of knowledge in this sector.

After doing a little research, Karen discovered that Shrewsbury Colleges Group offered a free distance learning qualification on the Principles of Dementia Care. Initially daunted by the prospect of returning to education after a long time away, Karen never-the-less got started on the course and she hasn’t looked back since.

Karen said: ‘This course reignited my passion for learning. While the subject was challenging and thought-provoking, the course content was blended with my real-life personal experience of caring for someone with dementia. Through the course, I was able to understand more about dementia and it helped me bring together lots of different strands of my previous work experience.’

Following the completion of the course, Karen found herself with a much greater understanding of what it is like for someone who is living with dementia as well as the demands placed on the carers of their loved ones.

Karen continued: ‘I was really supported by the tutor and the admin staff at the college. The tutor was really encouraging, and this helped me stay motivated. The materials for the course were extremely helpful and made it straightforward to study.’

Karen is continuing to work with people living with dementia and their carers through a person-centred approach and respite care. She is also providing support and guidance courses to dementia patient carers and the college course has been central to Karen developing this approach with her newfound career in dementia care.

More from the blog