Are you a carer?

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

If you're a carer and you'd like to send a letter in, you can post it to Tommy on Tour, 39 crosslee street glasgow g521sl. You can also email it to

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Week tour with NHS Highland September 8TH -12TH Make A Difference tour

With great thanks to Ruth Mantle Dementia Nurse Consultant ,Mamie Thompson Head of engagement NHS Highland for the wonderful opportunity  to tour together again across the areas the Board covers September 8th through till 12th

We had a wonderful few days of joint talks  in Inverness last year ,in fact this was the springboard for the make a difference tour that followed

So a BIG thank you to all the team and I am very much looking forward to touring with everyone finding more about the work and initiatives across Highland and doing some make a difference talks together

We are still finalizing dates and places and I will update the final itinerary soon

You can follow Ruth @ruth_mantle  and Mamie @nhshmt  on twitter for updates

Thank you team NHS Highland


Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
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Today Very honoured Speaking Conference education Centre WarringtonHospital

With great thanks to Karen Dawber (Director Nursing ) Mel Pickup (Chief Executive ) and  Debby Hatton (Matron for Elderly Care) Warrington  and Halton Hospitals for kind invite to speak at their conference on July31st in the Education Centre Warrington Hospital

I along with great friends Chris Mason and Jayne Goodrick ( who will giving a Dementia  Friends session to the board the day before) had the great privilege to visit Warrington Hospital a few months back after a talk we were speaking at together in Wigan and we were so inspired by all the work being done by Karen ,Mel and all the team

A big thank you to all the team for the kind invite  I am so very much looking forward to attending ,speaking, seeing all the great team again and last but by no means least speaking  with and spending time with my pals Chris & Jayne

Thanks for reading my blog, you can now watch my short films by searching 'My mums name was Joan' on this blog
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Dementia Carer Voices Survey Open until Friday 31st October – Have Your Say

Dementia Carer Voices Survey Open until Friday 31st October – Have Your Say

The Dementia Carer Voices project team put together a short survey to enable us to capture key messages from carers which will be used to influence future policy. We’ve already gathered some very powerful feedback and would like to say a massive thank you to those of you who have taken the time to share your experiences.
If you’ve not yet submitted a response to the survey and would like to, and if you have experience of caring for someone with dementia you can contribute and have your say on your hopes and concerns for the future by visiting
The survey will be closing on Friday 31st October so if you would like to respond, please make sure you have filled out the survey by this date. Thank you.

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

Life can change so quickly -For the love of mum

Life can change so quickly.

It started just over seven years ago. I was working really hard and was in a long term relationship, but both were falling apart. I was burnt out and really not playing my part in the relationship, blaming everyone for how I felt and my actions. I then received the letter from my then girlfriend that I have written about here before, fell out with my work and decided to take three months off. My only thoughts were to return to Scotland for a break and for my mum to put her arms around me and tell me everything was okay.

My mum and dad had always kept me in check and told me the truth, but supported me in the best of manner, but this time something was different. For the first time my mum needed me more than I needed her, it was mum that needed a pair of loving arms around her. This was the beginning of the biggest change we would ever face. From that day forward a lack of understanding of the journey we had undertaken, on my part and from those who we dealt with, defined much of the next five years. All too often our lives were never far from a crisis point. I believe there is a lesson there, this lack of understanding and guidance left us hurling towards a struggle we would never get over or recover from and I suppose that is the basis of this campaign .Guidance, understanding, listening and being heard .

We can’t at this time cure dementia but we can cure so many of the things that have a massive impact on our lives .We can prepare families for the the road ahead and the changes that any long term illness or condition will undoubtedly bring as we do our best to care for a loved one.

I like all carers cared first and foremost for love and believe with the right support and advice at the right time and a listening ear we can do much of the rest. The right support and understanding will ensure that our loved ones are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve and given the chance to live not fade. All of this does not cost money, just time in my case. I was a carer for one reason only for the love of mum, but love is not enough. We need to be given the support we need at the time we need and when it can make the biggest of difference.

For the love of mum

Monday, 28 July 2014

Earlier Today visiting and speaking at the Cuppa Club the Albany Center, Glasgow #Wonderful

With great thanks to Colette Campbell for the kind invite to attend and speak at the Cuppa Club today 
Part of ENABLE Scotland’s new Cuppa Club project
I had the loveliest time meeting everyone with us all chatting , sharing experiences life stories and more
one of the words that keeps appearing in the letters I receive and was a big part of my own experience is loneliness .We should be funding ,supporting and encouraging clubs such as the Cuppa club a great way of bringing People  together

With Colette and some of the group 

   Do you know someone who is aged 65 years or over, living in Glasgow and caring for someone in their family who has a learning disability?
If so we think you might be interested to hear about ENABLE Scotland’s new Cuppa Club project.  Cuppa Club will bring family carers (aged 65+) of people with learning disabilities together every fortnight. There will be lots of interesting activities on offer along with the opportunity to chat, have lunch and get information about relevant issues.  This project has been funded by the VAF Transformation fund, allowing us to offer all activities free of charge.
The launch of Cuppa Club will take place on Tuesday February 11th at the Albany Centre, Glasgow from 12pm to 2pm.  There is no charge for this event, which will star showbiz legend Johnny Beattie MBE, ‘Malcolm’ of River City - the Glasgow born actor and comedian, whose career has spanned over six decades.
For more information please contact Colette Campbell by email at or phone 01698 737186 or 07867179035.

Link for info:
Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Thank you - My wee Blog about #dementia #caring reached300.000viewsToday-Thank You From a Son

Thank you so  much  for the Kindness ,Support  and Encouragement

The wee Blog I started writing about caring for my mum the letters I receive 

OUR struggles,joy,hopes and dreams reached 300,000 page views today 

Along with all the films on different servers my wee blog and films  have been read or viewed nearly 400,000 times  

Thank  you for helping this son during the loneliest of days ,the good days and for supporting my campaign about life and love stories 

Thank you for the RTs  kindness and encouragement  

The Kindness Of People 


Most Read Posts 

Dementia the ForEver moments

I cared for my beautiful kind mum at home from 2007 till mum passed away September 2012. My heart, a heart that smiled so often whilst caring was broken long before mum passed away.

My mum could do that no matter what she faced. Facing much greater challenges than I was, she could always make my heart smile. That's what mums and dads do; they make it better for their children no matter what, no matter how young or old their children are.

Over the years, dementia kept changing everything. Just when we thought we had a routine, we had understanding, we had a way to make the best of each day, dementia would change everything.

Everything we thought we knew the day before had shifted. We would wake up and everything we knew before had changed. We had to rethink sometimes, re-smile, but most often struggle to get through the day. 

And it was always forever, the changes where always forever. I knew they were forever, I had witnessed forever happening so many times before.

From mum knowing who she was to not, to recognising her life, her home. All the little things we do for ourselves every day becoming the most impossible task, to not recognising or the remembering the man she met and fell in love with one day. The man who loved mum with all his heart. 

The cruellest trick of all, the love story of your life taken away.

And for me the big question is:

What are going to do to make forevers better for people living with dementia, for the families, for Carers?

It always felt like a surprise so often to people when forevers came along, when we contacted them when we needed more help, support, understanding, guidance, chance, opportunities, kindness, dignity, respect.

It was never a surprise to me, I witnessed forevers so often.

If we are truly going to support families, be there for the forevers, as forevers can truly break your heart.

Thanks for reading my blog, you can now watch my short films by searching 'My mums name was Joan' on this blog
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg

Friday, 25 July 2014

You Can Make A Difference Tour -161 Talks - Make A Pledge Make A Difference


You can make a difference!  

Campaign tells staff "You Can Make A Difference" for people with dementia and their carers

The Health and Social Care ALLIANCE’s Dementia Carer Voices project is embarking on an exciting new campaign for 2014, calling upon Scotland’s Health and Social Care professionals to consider how they can assist people with dementia and their carers.
The team will be taking the You Can Make A Difference’ > campaign to staff across the country to highlight that no matter what their role, everyone working in Health and Social Care Services has the potential to transform the lives and experiences of people with dementia and their carers, often in seemingly small ways. Staff will be given the opportunity to reflect on carer’s personal stories and make a pledge based on one key message or action that they will take away and apply to their everyday practice to make a difference. 
Some of the pledges received so far include;
“I pledge to listen with open ears and and open heart.”
“I pledge to view the person I care for as all that they have been, they are and all that they can be.”
“I pledge to take the time to speak to the person’s family and provide support to make their lives as fulfilling as possible.”
Tommy Whitelaw, Dementia Carer Voices Project Engagement Lead, said: 
“Carers tell us that a little bit of time, listening and understanding can make an unimaginable difference during what can be a very difficult and lonely journey. In my case it was a district nurse who not only gave me practical advice about how to take care of my mum, but sat down, put her arm around me and told me ‘You’re doing all right. You can make that difference.”

You Can Read All The Pledges Here

Tour dates 

·         20.01.14  Letters, Life and Love Stories Concert    
·         21.01.14  Spoke at Peace Hospice, Watford    
·         22.01.14  Spoke at 6C's Live Event, London  
·         27.01.14  Spoke at Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham  
·         28.01.14  Spoke at BCDA dignity event, Birmingham 
·         03.02.14  University of Edinburgh - Nursing Students 
·         04.02.14  Stow College - Health and Social Care Students   
·         05.02.14  St Andrew's Hospice - Airdrie  
·         06.02.14  Presentation to Crosshouse Hospital NHSaaa  
·         06.02.14  University of Abertay    
·         17.02.14  Royal College of Nursing  
·         18.02.14  8 Pillar Test Sites Learning Session 1  
·         19.02.14  NHS Fife - Dementia Champions  
·         20.02.14  University of Edinburgh - MSC Integrated Service Improvement  
·         24.02.14  NHS Highland Palliative Care Event 
·         25.02.14 NHS Grampian/ Robert Gordon University NHS Grampian - Presentation  to board and 4 talks at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to medical students in ARI.
·         26.02.14  NHS Grampian / Robert Gordon University - Moray College Elgin and Acorn Centre Inverurie
·         27.02.14  NHS Grampian / Robert Gordon University – 4 talks to nursing students 
·         03.03.14  NHS England Expo Manchester
·         04.03.14   NHS England Expo Manchester
·         05.03.14  Inverary Talk - Caring Connections and the focus is on creating a person centred network in Argyll and Bute, across health, social care and third sector 
·         07.03.14  Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh  
·         11.03.14  Senior Charge Nurses event – Beardmore Conference Centre  
·         12.03.14  Monklands Hospital, Airdrie  
·         17.03.14  Reid Kerr Collage Nursing Students
·         17.03.14  NHSGGC Tour Western Infirmary 3rd Floor Function Suite 1-2pm and 2.30-3.30pm (2 talks)
·         18.03.14  NHSGGC Tour Inverclyde Royal IRH Education Centre Upstairs 1-2pm and 2.30-3.30pm (2 talks)
·         19.03.14  Year 1 addiction sessions - Glasgow Caledonian University  
·         20.03.14  NHSGGC Tour Royal Alexandria Hospital Medical Education Lecture Theatre 1-2pm and 2.30-3.30pm (2 talks)
·         21.03.14  Gartnavel General Hospital Lecture Theatre Post Graduate Centre 1-2pm and 2.30-3.30pm (2 talks)
·         24.03.14  NHSGGC Tour Western Infirmary 3rd Floor Function Suite 1-2pm and 2.30-3.30pm (2 talks)
·         26.03.14  Dementia Post-Diagnostic Support HEAT Target Event - Beardmore Conference Centre  
·         28.03.14  James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough  

·         31.03.14  NHSGGC Tour Royal Alexandria Hospital Lecture Theatre 2 1-2pm and 2.30-3.30pm (2 talks)   
·         01.04.14  NHSGGC Tour Gartnavel General Hospital Boardroom 1-2pm and 2.30-3.30pm (2 talks)   
·         02.04.14. NHSGGC Tour Western Infirmary 3rd Floor Function Suite 1-2pm and 2.30-3.30pm (2 talks)
·         03.04.14  OT forum East Renfrewshire (morning)
·         08.04.14  NHSD&G Tour - Waverly Medical Centre Open session x2 and Palmerston Football Club Closed Session (Invite only)
·         09.04.14 NHSD&G Tour - Conference Room Crichton Hall Open session x2 and Alzheimer Scotland Resource Centre, Gordon Street meet and greet with lunch.
·         10.04.14  NHSD&G Tour - Tribunal Room Midpark Hospital Open session, Conference room Crichton Hall Session with dementia champions and Howgill Centre, Treastaigh, Annan Open session
·         10.04.14 Masterclass Caledonian University
·         21.04.14 Maple Villa Livingston Dementia unit for challenging behaviours
·         22.04.14 speaking Sandywells NHSGG staff conference
·         24.04.14 Speaking opening of Dementia Friendly Kent
·         28.04.14  NHSGGC Tour Glasgow Royal Infirmary Boardroom 1-2pm and 2.30-3.30pm (2 talks)    
·         29.04.14. NHSGGC Tour Victoria Infirmary Practice Development Classroom 1-2pm and 2.30-3.30pm (2 talks) 
·         30.04.14. NHSGGC Tour Vale of Leven MR1 1-2pm and 2.30-3.30pm (2 talks)
·         01.05.14 Speaking Sunshine House Wigan
·         06.05.14 Hosting Webinar NHS England Leeds International Nurses week 
·         06.05.14  NHSGGC Tour  Glasgow Royal Infirmary Boardroom 1-2pm and 2.30-3.30pm (2 talks)    
·         07.05.14 Speaking Care Inspectorate Conference 
·         08.05.14 NHS Borders Dementia Awareness Event 
·         09.05.14  NHSAA Crosshouse Hospital
·         12.04.14 Carers Dementia Support Group Edinburgh
·         13.05.14 Unveiling plague at Heartlands Hospital Birmingham
·         14.05.14  Scottish Practice Nurse Association Conference – Perth
·         15.05.14  NHSAA Ayr Hospital
·         19.05.14  ALLIANCE Annual Conference – Pollock Halls Edinburgh
·         20.05.14  Speaking at University of Abertay
·         22.05.14  NHSAA Crosshouse Hospital
·         22.05.14  Ardeer Centre, Stevenson - Care at Home Frontline staff event
·         27.05.14  NHSAA Ayr Hospital
·         27.05.14  Person Centred Care Conference – Make a difference stand
·         28.05.14  Person Centred Care Conference – Make a difference stand
·         20.05.14  Speaking at Moray College – 8 pillars Launch
·         03.06.14  Speaking at County Hall – Irvine for North Ayrshire Council
·         03.06.14  NHS Annual Conference - attending

·         04.06.14  NHS Annual Conference – attending
·         05.06.14  Speaking at Voluntary Action South Ayrshire Conference
·         06.06.14  NHSGGC Podiatry Development Day
·         10.06.14  Speaking at SG dementia event
·         11.06.14  NHSAA Ayr Hospital 
·         12.06.14  Brooksby Medical Centre, Largs - North Ayrshire Council Staff and carers
·         13.06.14  Central Borders Conference
·         17.06.14  Speaking to Birmingham Social Workers Seminar
·         18.06.14  Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust and Rowley Regis Hospital
·         18.06.14  Salford University – Nursing and Social Work Students
·         19.06.14 Meeting Cabinet Secretary for Health Parliament
·         19.06.14 NHSAA Crosshouse Hospital
·         20.06.14  Speaking at Southern General - NHSGGC
·         20.06.14  NHSAA Ayr Hospital 
·         25.06.14  Speaking at COSLA Event  - Link worker project
·         25.06.2014 Speaking at Care Inspectorate, Administration Staff
·         26.06.14  NHSAA Ayr Hospital
·         26.06.14  Speaking at Beardmore conference centre – Facing the future together
·         27.06.14  Speaking in Birmingham – Masterclass to Social care sector via BCDA
·         30.06.14  NHSAA Crosshouse Hospital

·         01.07.14  Attending Cuppa Club – Albany Centre
·         02.07.14  Dementia Café with Croy, Ayrshire
·         03.07.14  Speaking #BeGoodBeSocial Scotland's third sector social media gathering
·         08.07.14  North Wales Dementia Tweet-up Conference
·         09.07.14 Speaking Essex Lloyds launch  
·         15.07.14 Sunflower Dementia Gardens, Wrexham Hospital
·         23.07.14 Speaking at Carr Gomm Community Event Argyll and Bute
·         24.07.14 Person Centred Talks with Person Centred Greater Glasgow and Clyde
·         28.07.14 Cuppa Club, Glasgow
·         30.07.14 Dementia Conference Warrington Hospital

·         07.08.14 Speaking to Occupational Therapy Team South Ayrshire
·         11.08.14  Speaking Crosshouse Hospital NHSAA
·         12.08.14 Attending Promoting Excellence Board
·         15.07.14  Speaking at Ayr Hosptial NHSAA
·         20.08.14 Speaking at Quarriers Bridge of Weir Event
·         26.08.14 Speaking at North Ayrshire Council for Tony Fisher

·         27.08.14  Speaking at Drumchapel Hospital
·         29.08.14  Session for Social Media for Social Good in Glasgow

·         1.09.14 Speaking at Teeside University, Nursing students
·         08-12.09.14  NHS Highland Tour
·         16.09.14 Speaking Glasgow University, Nursing Students
·         17.09.14 Speaking at Warrick University
·         18.08.14  Speaking at Burton Hospital, Burton on Trent
·         19.09.14 University West of Scotland Ayr; 2 talks
·         26.09.14 Hertfordshire University

·         01.10.14 Speaking Ailsa Hospital, Ayrshire
·         03.10.14 End of Life Care Event, City Hospital Birmingham
·         04.10.14  Portobello Book Festival
·         7-9 10 14 DCV Exhibition stand at SG
·         08.10.14  6Cs Live Conference in Birmingham NHS England
·         14.10.14 Hope Café Lanarkshire
·         20.10.14 Speaking at City Hospital Birmingham
·         22.10.14 Speaking at Glasgow Caledonia University
·         31.10.14  Citizens Advice Direct AGM

·         03.11.14  Sunderland City Hospital - Planning for your future care conference
·         12.11.14 Wolverhampton End of Life Care Conference
·         26.11.14 Protected Learning Time GP Practices, Murrayfield

05.12.14  Cohort13 Senior Charge Nurse Conference