Are you a carer?

Please watch my short film, which includes families and carers reading from the letters they sent me.

If you would like to share your story or make a persoanl pledge to make a difference please email

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Tomorrow speaking - Carers Count Conference NELFT NHS Foundation trust


With great thanks to Stephanie Dawe Chief Nurse and member  Executive Team and Rosemary NeiLson for the kind invite to speak at the CARERS COUNT Conferecne 

I am very honored to be invited and look forward to attending,listening,learning,speaking and meeting everyone 




Monday, 23 November 2015

Speaking health and social care students. West Lothian College December 8th


With great thanks to Marion Darling and all the team at  West Lothian College for the kind invite to speak to health and social care students and staff on December 8th in  lecture theater West Lothian College at 1:30 pm 

Marion and I are both friends  on Twitter and i am very looking forward to us meeting in person on December 8th 


Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
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Thursday, 19 November 2015

Speaking Manchester Metropolitan University January 26th


With great thanks to Prof Alison Chambers, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care Manchester Metropolitan University for the kind invite to speak at the the University on January 26th 2016 also a big thank you to  Jackie Rees Marketing Officer,for kindly looking after me so well with the arrangements 

I am so very honored to be invited 


Register here for free via @EventbriteUK

Hope if you live in or near Manchester you can make it along 


Guest Post - MindMate - What a month!


with great thanks to Gabriela from MindMate for this months guest blog post on all that has been happening with the MindMate App and team 
I am so very glad to know  the inspiring team at MindMate and and feel inspired by the work they and so very glad to have them as friends 

What a month!

It has been a crazy and exciting month for the MindMate team! A lot has happened since we did our trial in summer and a lot more is to come.

We are happy to share that many of our testers are still using the app and the feedback has been very good so far. We are very grateful for their support and input. But we have grown a lot since our testers joined. The MindMate App is currently being used by almost 5,000 people all over the world and the numbers are constantly increasing. 

Some other important milestones have been:

Tommy and MindMate on tour J
One important development that is especially close to our hearts is the announcement of Tommy Whitelaw as our community advisor. He has given us indispensable insight into the world of a dementia caregiver and has amazed us with the connection he has to the community. His support has been especially important to Rogelio, who found strength and encouragement in speaking to other caregivers. 

The NHS gives it a try
What is also very exciting is the trial that is planned together with the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Trust. The Dementia Support and Development Lead, Stephen Lithgow has been an incredible support and will lead the trial with 60 IPads that will be used by the line workers in the “Post Diagnostic Support”. We are meeting them in a week to give an introduction into all the features of the app. 

MindMate is beneficial for care homes too!
This week’s highlight was probably our great visit in the Cranlea Care Home in Newcastle. The care home is lovely and we really enjoyed the tour we got. Together with the Anchor’s Community Partnership Manager David Wood, the Home Manager Lynn Day and Activities Co-Coordinator Michele we looked at all the benefits the MindMate App can have to care home residents and their carers. We are excited to see where this can go!

Prizes and Recognition
Susanne and Gabriela from MindMate travelled to Denmark a couple of weeks ago to participate in the European Telemedicine Conference and pitch for the Global Young Innovators Competition. We got the second prize and are incredibly proud to have convinced the Jury despite the international competition. 

Also, last but not least, we are one of the happy winners of the Young EDGE Scottish EDGE Awards. We have been awarded 10,000 pounds and are working hard on improving the app further and have something else coming up that will, together with the MindMate App, make a huge difference for people who care for someone with dementia.

If you haven’t downloaded the free App yet, do it here:

And please give us feedback and a good review if you like it! 
If you have any questions, you can always contact us via e-mail: and visit our website:

All the Best, 
Gabriela from MindMate

3 talks across NHS Forth Valley December 9th - Forth Valley Royal &Falkirk Community hospital


With great thanks to Dr Linda E. Wolff Consultant Psychiatrist - Old Age Falkirk Community Hospital
For the kind invite to give 3 presentations  at 2 hospitals accros  NHS Forth Valley 

Forth Valley Royal Infirmary 

at     11.00-   12.15
and   13.30 -  1445

 Falkirk Community Hospital 

1515- 1630

I had the great privilege to speak with Linda a few weeks ago at an event at NHS Fife and was both inspired by the presentation and passion to bring ' Make a Difference ' to NHS Forth Valley 

I am very much looking forward to the 3 talks,meeting everyone and working with Linda again 



2 talks Nottingham - City Care Nottingham December 7th


With great thanks to Emma Self Head of Professional Standards CityCare Nottingham 
For the kind invite to give 2 talks at the Park Inn Hotel Nottingham  on December 7th 

The morning session starts at 9:30 for coffee & registration, The afternoon session repeats the AM, with coffee & Registration from 1:30

I had the great privilege to speak at the QNI Annual conference last month that Emma attended and I am very honored to be invited by Emma to give the two talks on December the 7th 

 For more info you can contact Emma here Mail to:


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

My Name is Tommy,I cared for my wonderful mum Joan

My name is Tommy Whitelaw, and for five years I was a full-time carer for my mum Joan, up until she sadly passed away in September 2012.
At the time my Mum was diagnosed with vascular dementia, I looked at her and thought to myself “it’ll be okay, we’ll get through this.” What I soon learned as her carer, was that dementia was an unpredictable illness which brought many challenges and forced us to adapt to ever-changing routines. Many days we would wake up to discover that everything we had grown accustomed to have suddenly changed again.I wondered whether the struggles I faced were mine and mine alone, and how other carers who had been through the same journey as I was embarking on, had managed to cope. This was the basis behind my first venture in to the world of awareness raising – the‘Tommy On Tour’ campaign, which involved collecting life story letters from people across Scotland caring for a loved one with dementia.
The hundreds of letters I received let me know that the challenges I faced were far from unique to my own situation and I have to say meeting and speaking to others in the same situation was one of the most beneficial things I could have done.
An issue that struck me during my journey caring for my mum was the lack of awareness and understanding of dementia and the way in which we perceive this illness as a wider society.  My door was always open but no one walked through it, people didn’t come to visit us anymore and I truly believe that was down to the stigma surrounding the illness.
Everyone affected by dementia has a unique story to tell and by sharing our experiences we can help to tackle the misunderstandings surrounding dementia and offer hope to people in the same situation.
This is something I am passionate about promoting as I build on my previous awareness raising work, as Project Engagement lead of the Health and Social Care ALLIANCE’s Dementia Carer Voices Project.
The project provides a platform upon which carers can express their views and experiences of caring for a loved one living with dementia, with a view to raising awareness among health and social care professionals, and wider society of its impact on families and the importance of empowering carers in carrying out this difficult but vital role.
A key focus of my talks through the project is to highlight the impact that inspirational health and social care professionals can make to the journeys of carers across Scotland. People who appreciate and understand the unique challenges that dementia brings can be there to prop you up, and I absolutely believe as a carer if I was propped up a little bit with the right help and support, I could have given my Mum the best care and support in the world.
The experience of caring for my Mum undoubtedly brought great challenges, stress, isolation and sadness, but it was a role carried out through love and we enjoyed many touching moments of joy and satisfaction. Those special moments live long in my memory, and gave me a real boost of strength to get through the difficult times, and continue to do so now.
Dementia Carer Voices pledge background
Dementia Carer Voices has now gathered over 4500 personal pledges as part of the “You Can Make a Difference” campaign. The campaign encourages people to listen to the experiences of people who have cared for a loved one with dementia and to think how they can make a positive difference in people’s lives. The team are delighted to have gotten such a strong response, and would like to take this opportunity to reflect on our journey up until now and how we have gotten to this point.
A fundamental aspect of the campaign has been about involvement. Throughout the UK tour, we have engaged with many thousands of  health and social care professionals, students, MSPs and members of the public, and have noticed a distinct increase in the number of pledges we have received when people are encouraged and supported to do so by colleagues and friends. We would therefore like to ask you to share this campaign, to encourage people you know to get involved and make a pledge to make a difference in the lives of people who have dementia, their families and carers. Through our own dedicated blog site, twitter account and website, the campaign is easily shared, and links people to a range of information.
Pledges can be submitted via email, twitter @DementiaCarerVo or on the blog site, and are also collected at every talk. We would very much appreciate it if you would promote this campaign; the talks and our films and encourage people to reflect on what they can do and how they can make a difference.
Dementia Carer Voices took the Make a Difference campaign to the Scottish Parliament in October 2014. View the pledges from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Paul Gray, DG Health and Social Care and Chief Executive, NHSScotland.
NHS Ayrshire & Arran and the University of West Scotland  (UWS)  were key partners in the ‘#make a difference’ pledges and dementia awareness campaign.  This video includes interviews with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Paul Gray, DG Health and Social Care and Chief Executive, NHSScotland, Fiona McQueen (Executive Nurse Director NHS Scotland), Professor Paul Martin (Deputy Principal UWS), Derek T Barron (Associate Nurse Director – Lead Nurse North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership), Janice McAlister (Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant), Lynn McLaughlin (Senior Charge Nurse).
View the May/June 2015 Dementia Carer Voices Newsletter.  Subscribe to the newslettermailing list.

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
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My mums name was Joan Whitelaw - our 8 short films

Tommy’s speech, providing a carer’s perspective,  on the theme of “No – one ever asked >” highlighted the transformational impact that listening, kindness and understanding made to his journey as a carer, and the importance of looking beyond a person’s diagnosis to engage with them as an individual.

If you would like to access further information about the Collaborative and to view presentations from the latest learning session, please click here.

In 2011 Tommy produced a short film in conjunction with Alzheimer Scotland. The video, which was later shown at the Scottish Parliament, includes families and carers reading from the letters they sent him during his dementia awareness tour of Scotland’s towns and cities. To view the FILM

  Interview for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Patients’ Stories Library
The NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde's Patients' Stories Library for Hospital Staff aims to use patients’ and carers’ experiences to look at how acute services can be improved.
Tommy shared his story with frontline staff working across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, including the Ward staff that cared for his mother at the Southern General hospital. His film interview was also shown across a number of NHSGGC hospital sites during Carers Week 2013 to help raise awareness amongst staff about the importance of supporting carers in contributing to delivering person centred care.

 It’s Ok to Ask for Help!

The It’s Ok to Ask DVD produced by NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Glasgow City Council, The Alliance and Alzheimer Scotland uses carers’ experiences to highlight the benefits of using carer support services in Glasgow, and encourages people to ask for help. Tommy Whitelaw, Alliance Scotland, shares experiences of looking after a partner, parent, relative, friend or neighbour with dementia. Other carers tell us about help they get from support services in Glasgow. FILM

'On the Couch' with Tommy Whitelaw filmed interview NHS Scotland Conference June 2015

Speaking Care Inspectorate Seminar 

Published on 7 Nov 2013
Tommy recently spoke to our inspection team to talk about his experiences of caring for his mum Joan Whitelaw, who died last year after living with dementia for several years. He spoke about the difficulties he had getting the right services for his mum at the right time and how this led him to take his dementia awareness campaign "On Tour"

National Dementia Awareness Week 2014 (England) – NHS Employers Nursing Times - my Filmed interview

To mark National Dementia Awareness Week which runs from 18 to 24 May, NHS Employers the Nursing Times are working with the Alzheimer’s Society to promote resources available to NHS organisations and the NHS workforce.
As part of this activity, they have specially commissioned a short video of an interview with Dementia Carer Voices’ very own Tommy Whitelaw.

You can get more information here on NHS Employers 
This video was made to mark this year’s Dementia Awareness week 

You can click on the image Below to preview the  trailer for a longer film which will be launched on 12th December in NHS Ayrshire and Arran University Hospital Ayr lecture theatre.
make a difference film

Full version of Make a difference with the staff nhsaaa 
Nicola Film Still 2

Monday, 16 November 2015

Reading, Writing and Your Health: Journeys in Self Management - Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh Nov 24th

Reading, Writing and Your Health: Journeys in Self Management

6pm-8pm, Tuesday 24th November 2015
Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh

Living with a long term condition can be tough and finding activities to help you manage your condition is one aspect of successful self management. Join us on Tuesday 24th November at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh, as part of Book Week Scotland, to hear first-hand from people who have used reading and writing to help them in their journey to self management.

This event will be chaired by Blythe Robertson, self management policy lead at the Scottish Government and Book Week Scotland Partner. Joining Blythe:

·         Eric Sinclair, author of ‘Man Dog Stroke’ which charts Eric’s journey following a stroke (and an enlightening insight into the mind of his whippet, Hamish!)
·         Sheila Peaston and Maria Martin, founders of Pink Ladies 1st a community support group for women in Midlothian, will share their experiences of using reading and writing to inspire positive change
·         Alan Ainsley who blogs about mental health issues, will speak about how writing his blog has been an important part of his self management
·         Successful self management relies on having access to the right information, education, support and services as well as developing strategies and resilience within ourselves. Join us for an inspirational evening looking at how reading and writing can affect your health.

This event will be of interest to people living with one or more long term conditions, carers and anyone else interested in using reading and writing to self manage.

To register for this event, contact Lara Murray at or 01414040231 including: the title of the event, your name and any access or dietary requirements. There is no cost to attend this event.

Book Week Scotland 2015 takes place between 23 and 29 November. You can find out more about other events at the Book Week Scotland events page
Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Speaking 6th Annual Health care Support Worker Conference Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust November 27th

with great thanks to  Victoria Smith Placement Development Manager Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust 
for the kind invite to speak at the 6th Annual Health care
Support Worker Conference 

I have had the privilege to speak at the Trust before and in fact Vicky was truly wonderful in introducing  me to delegates and  organizing  the pledge wall on the day 

i am very much looking forward to attending ,meeting everyone  and learning more about the work Vicky and the team do across Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust. 

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Very Honored invited to The Chief Nursing Officer for England’s Summit 2015 #CNOsummit


I am very honored to be invited by the Jane Cummings the Chief  Nursing Officer for England to attend

And take part in a workshop at the The CNO Summit #cnosummit 2015

I have met with jane at many events over the last year and I am grateful for the kindness and encouragement received toward our  ' Make a Difference ' tour and campaign .I am looking forward to a great couple of days of learning and meeting people 

You can learn more below or at the link here


The Chief Nursing Officer for England’s Summit (CNO Summit) 2015 will bring together the most senior leaders from across the nursing, midwifery and care professions to help shape future direction and equip leaders to motivate, inspire and mobilise the workforce with new ideas, ways of working and shared learning.

Leading change and creating value

The focus this year is around how we use our collective strengths to create the value of right outcomes for patients, good experiences for staff and those we care for, and do this efficiently.

The Summit will be held at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole hotel between 1 and 2 December 2015.

The CNO Summit programme includes international and national key note speakers, plenary session debates and breakout sessions.

From the afternoon of 30 November, prior to the full Summit, sessions dedicated exclusively to provider Directors of Nursing will consider and address key leadership issues, to acknowledge today’s challenges and discuss how to work together to address these.

On the afternoon of 2 December, the Summit includes dedicated time specifically for Commissioners.

The Summit is an opportunity to share learning with up to 500 chief nurses, patient representatives, academics and other Arm’s Length Bodies involved in shaping the future of health and care.  It will be a great opportunity to network.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Speaking Glasgow University School of Nursing November 16th


With Great thanks to Jane Joy senior Lecturer Glasgow University School of Nursing for the kind invite  back speak to students attending Glasgow University School of Nursing 

last year i was invited to speak at the nurse development day 

A big thank you to all who took time to attend,for the kindness and for the pledges  you can view the pledges from today HERE 

last year I had the great privilege to give two talks at the University one to students and the other at a nurse development dat  ( a wee photo below ) to students and in fact I am working with the University on the letters I receive  

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
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Speaking Age UK Annual Conference November 18th #ForLaterLife15


With great thanks to Tom Wright, CBE Group CEO,Hannah Altendorff and all at Age UK for the kind invite to speak at their Annual Conference in London #ForLaterLife15 on November 18th

I am very honored to be invited and look forward to attending,listening,learning and speaking 


you can learn more about the conference at the link HERE and more about AGE UK HERE 

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg