The Caregivers Hub is the result of our InTouch project, which started in 2015. With InTouch, we worked together with caregivers from several towns in West-Flanders and asked them how they experience their care task. This showed that more than half of the participating caregivers has – at one point – struggled with depression while takin care of their loved one.
‘What changes can improve the mental health of caregivers?’ is what we asked next. Some concrete answers were formulated: social contact, accessible information and access to respite care are only a some of the examples.
With all the input we gathered, !DROPS got to work. In three towns, we set up a caregivers cafe, which is now entirely led by carers themselves. We also developed several training programs for both caregivers and professionals working with them. Finally, we also created an online platform which carers can use to interact with each other and social services.
!DROPS notices the need for a structural support system for caregivers, also in other cities and towns. That’s why we combined our three supportive solutions into one package: the Caregivers Hub. It’s a tool that enables cities to offer their caregivers qualitative and multidisciplinary support in a short period of time. Moreover, the offered support is sustainable, which means that it’s not a temporary band aid, but a long-term solution for caregivers.
The Caregivers Hub is a three-part package, consisting of the Caregivers Cafe, the Caregivers Academy and the digital platform Caregivers Online.
The local Caregivers Cafe is a monthly gathering from and for carers in an open, cozy atmosphere. The initiative is started and led by a core group of caregiver volunteers. Everybody who takes care – however long that is – of a loved one in need, is welcome.
Caregivers and professionals indicate that they can use some support in their daily tasks. That’s why !DROPS developed several educations, which strengthen both carers and care professionals.
Regular websites are often a source of frustration for caregivers, as they are not user friendly and lack support. For this reason, Caregivers Online was created together with carers. This resulted in a low-threshold online platform with, among others, a search function, chat function, calendar with local activities and a newsfeed with local and general news. The platform will be launched soon.
!DROPS created the Caregivers Hub specifically for cities and towns. It is an overarching tool that guides them in setting up a full support system for caregivers, which is kept running by the carers themselves in the end.
Is your city or town also in need of structural support for caregivers? You can join the project and create your own local Caregivers Hub. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!