Friday, 31 October 2014

ALLIANCE Christmas Networking event December 1st 12pm-

The ALLIANCE, Venlaw Building, 349 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4AA
Come and join us at our next members’ networking event: Self Management, Partnerships in Practice on Monday 1st December 2014 at 12pm
On the day, there will be three networking sessions to encourage sharing experiences. Explore partnership working, how to engage people and co-production. 
Inspirational speakers will share their achievements through effective partnerships and there will be some Christmas surprises. 
This event is open to all members of the ALLIANCE but may be of particular interest to you if you have any key experiences of self management and partnership working to share or you want to learn more about how others make their partnerships work. 
If you are interested in attending this event, e-mail including any access or dietary requirements
Please also list the networking sessions you would like to attend in order of preference. 
The networking sessions are: 
Partnership Working 
Engaging People 
We look forward to networking with you!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Speaking at Citizens Advice Direct Scotland Annual General Meeting 2014

Looking forward to speaking at Citizens Advice Direct Scotland Annual General Meeting 2014 this Friday at the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow at 6.30pm
Massive thanks to Andrew Bartlett for inviting me to speaking on the evening.

"Having outgrown The Corinthian, 2014's Advice Direct Scotland trading as Citizens Advice Direct's Annual General Meeting is moving to the Grand Ballroom at Glasgow's iconic Grand Central Hotel. Speakers include Nigel Kershaw, co-founder and chair of The Big Issue and CEO of Big Issue Invest, and the inspirational Tommy Whitelaw, who will talk about his mission to raise awareness of dementia.
The AGM will last for approximately one hour, followed by drinks, food and networking"

If you would like to attend please register through Eventbrite at:

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

Sunday, 26 October 2014

7 days-17 talks-7 towns-cities-Another busy week For MakeADifferencetour


Well this week is a another busy week on my 'You Can Make A Difference Tour '  (186 talks across the UK )

Seven days seventeen talks across seven towns and cities 

I have 14 talks in Partnership with NHS Highland starting with 3 talks Fort William Monday, 4 talks Wick Tuesday, 4 talks Inverness Wednesday and last but not least Oban for 3 talks 

I then head from Oban to Dunblane late Thursday evening to speak at the HFMA Annual conference first thing Friday morning then later that day I will be speaking in Galsgow at the Citizens Advice Direct AGM

Next day I head off to Sunderland to speak at a the City Hosptial Sunderland End of Life Care Conference 

A busy but very exciting 7 days on my tour .A massive thank you to all of the above for the invites ,opportunities and support to get there 

I am so very much looking forward to meeting everyone listening,learning ,speaking meeting new and old friends along the way and I hope adding more personal pledges to our pledge wall


Thursday, 23 October 2014

Guest Post - A week in the life of an Allied Health Professions Dementia Consultant Jenny Reid

Todays guest blog post is from the great Jenny Reid, Allied Health Professions (AHP) Dementia Consultant working in NHS Lothian.  Thank you so much Jenny for taking the time to write such an informative post.  #makingadifference.


My name is Jenny Reid and I am an Allied Health Professions (AHP) Dementia Consultant working in NHS Lothian. There are four such posts in Scotland each with a different focus but working together as a team. The Allied Health Professions are a group of 10 different professions including:

  • Arts therapists (including art, music and drama)
  • Dietitians
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Orthoptists
  • Paramedics
  • Podiatrists
  • Prosthetists and Orthotists
  • Radiographers (diagnostic and therapeutic)
  • Speech and language therapists

I was delighted to be asked by Tommy to share my role through a guest blog on Dementia Carer Voices. One of the great things about my role is the variety, so in order to give you a flavour of some of the work I’m involved in I thought I would describe a week in the life of an AHP Dementia Consultant.


On Monday I was part of a team hosting a national event for AHPs involved in delivering post diagnostic support to people living with dementia, their families and carers.  The Connecting People, Connecting Support event was a one day conversation celebrating the best in supported self-management for people with dementia and co-creating the future direction.  The audience included Alzheimer Scotland Link Workers and Allied Health Professionals from around Scotland.  During the event we launched a new publication sharing good practice from around Scotland.  The Allied Health Professionals delivering Post-Diagnostic Support: Living Well with Dementia document is available online at:


The day was action packed with a range of speakers including Jacqui Lunday-Johnston (the Chief Health Professionals Officer in Scottish Government), Dr Claire Craig (Sheffield Hallam University), Amy Dalrymple (Alzheimer Scotland) and members of the Scottish Dementia Working Group.  In between the presentations Fiona McNeill and her associates hosted the conversation based on a series of powerful questions.  There is a webcast of the event for anyone who would like to see the day:

Tuesday included a meeting with colleagues from the occupational therapy team at Queen Margaret University and my colleague Elaine Hunter (AHP Consultant in Alzheimer Scotland).  We are working together to design opportunities for AHP students to learn the knowledge and skills they require to work effectively with people living with dementia, their families and carers.  This has included practice placements in Alzheimer Scotland services, AHP interns, an Alzheimer Scotland AHP PhD studentship and creating both undergraduate and masters level modules focusing on dementia for AHPs.

Wednesday was focused on meeting with around 30 AHPs working in Lothian across NHS services as well as three of the local authorities.  I am working with my AHP Practice Education Lead colleague to train AHPs in Lothian to a minimum of the Skilled Level in the Promoting Excellence framework.  There are around 1900 AHPs in Lothian so we are adopting a “train the trainer” model to allow us to train as many staff as possible.  This is the first cohort of staff who have signed up to be trainers and they are a really motivated and enthusiastic group of staff who will have trained around 250 staff by next summer and 500 by the end of next year.


On Thursday and Friday I had time to catch up with email and telephone calls and to do some much need preparation for various events and training sessions.  My job involves meeting with people from diverse services and the upcoming sessions which I spent time preparing for included Fire and Rescue Service staff involved in providing home fire safety visits and falls champions from NHS, Local authority, care home and leisure services.

I also spent time working on two poster presentations for the Alzheimer Europe Conference (20-22nd October in Glasgow), one on a national project to pilot an occupational therapy intervention in 6 different health boards in Scotland.  The Tailored Activity Programme (TAP) intervention aims to help carers to support the person with dementia to continue to engage in meaningful and enjoyable activities using their remaining abilities and compensating for the difficulties caused by their dementia.  This intervention has been shown to improve quality of life, reduce signs of stress and distress and reduce time carers spend in caring tasks.  If you would like any more information on the TAP project please go to

This is just a flavour of some of my work. If you would like more information on my role or on the work of the other AHP Dementia Consultants you can find lots o information including our update reports and the Dementia AHPproaches newsletter which I produce quarterly on our community of practice .  We are all active on twitter too so check out





There is also a weekly blog sharing some of the AHP Dementia work ( for new posts every Thursday morning.


Starts Tomorrow Tour with NHS Highlands - Fort William -Wick - Inverness -Oban 14 talks

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 October 27th - 0ctober 14 talks in total 

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

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!
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg

Today Speaking ( 2 talks) Adult Services Support Team Families-Wellbeing Directorate Warrington



With great thanks to Sandra Boldison Heads of Adult Services Support Team Families & Wellbeing Directorate Warrington Borough Council for the kind invite to give two talks to staff at 
The Werburgh’s Development Centre Warrington

I had the great privilege to speak in Warrington last week at the Warrington Hospital Dementia Conference and I am very honoured to be invited back this time by Sandra and the adult service support team 

There will be two talks 1pm and 3pm to an audience of Social Workers, care at home support teams and Adult Services Support Team Families & Wellbeing Directorate

Thank you Sandra and all concerned for the kind invite 

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

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Earlier today Speaking Dundee University mental health students

With great thanks to mike Ramsay lecturer on mental Health at Dundee University for inviting me to speak to mental health nursing students earlier today . I had the great honor to speak there a few times  last year to nursing , mental health and social care students 

 A big thank you to all the students for the time and kindness ,You can read all the pledges from today on our pledge site after the weekend 

Thank you Mike for the invite back

Monday, 20 October 2014

2230 pledges- A million thanks yous - Team Dementia Carer Voices

The Dementia Carer Voices team would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has made a pledge as part of the ‘You Can Make a Difference’ campaign and we are absolutely delighted to have received over 2230  pledges! This is an incredible milestone, and is only possible due to the commitment and compassion from everyone who has attended a talk or read about the campaign and made a promise to make a positive difference in the lives of people with dementia and their carers.
    Pledges Presentation Slide 1
The team have been taking the You Can Make Difference campaign to staff and students throughout the UK 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. 

The talks involve Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw sharing his own personal experiences from caring for his late mum, Joan, and the experiences of others who have written to him since he went on tour in 2011. The campaign allows staff the opportunity to reflect on these 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. 
Pledges 3
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 journeyThe pledges that we have received have been truly inspiring, and we’re looking forward to working with people and seeing those pledges fulfilled.”
Irene Oldfather, Director, the ALLIANCE said:
 “This work reaches out and touches the hearts of many people, not least Health and Social Care students and professionals. These interactions are an ideal opportunity for staff to pause and reflect on what is really important to the people in their care.  Make a pledge, make a difference.”

photo 9
How you can make a pledge 
We launched the ‘You Can Make a Difference’ Campaign in February of this year and it has been so inspiring to see it grow. The campaign  has really shown the difference that every single person can make, no matter how small it may seem. If you have been inspired to make a pledge , please get in touch and email us your pledge at
Your response has been truly inspiring, so from all of us here – thank you. We really can all make a difference.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Thank you My wee Blog about caring for mum reached 350,000 reads today- Thank you From a Son


Thank you My wee Blog about caring for mum reached 350,000 reads today - Just over 430,000 views including our films 

This wee blog was started through Lonliness and a breaking HEART 

THANK YOU For supporting and helping us through the good days and bad days 

Thank you From a Son

Thank you Earlier Today speaking Birmingham City Hospital


With great thanks to Estelle Greenwood Project Facilitator  Nursing Division (Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS trust ) City hospital Birmingham ,Dianneand all the team  For the kind invite to speak   At the Dementia theatre event held  at the Wolfson  Lecture Theatre at the hospital 

I had the great privilege to speak speak back in January  for Estelle at the same venue as part of the first Dementia theatre and I was very honored to be invited back again today 

Today was very thought provoking and engaging a big thank you to all the team For today for the wonderful kindness and pledges ( I will post some photos and pledges from today on our pledge site later this week ) 

Below is a wee photo with Estelle and all the team you can also read the pledges from Januarys event 

Thank you Estelle and all involved for the kindnesss 

I pledge to see the patient as an individual to always communicate and interact with them and families/carers.  To find out about the person.  To provide person centred care.  To put a smile on their face, most of all to care and show the love.
I pledge to really listen to my patients.  To make time to see and hear the person, not just the patient – Lorna Kelly
I will make a pledge to be more understanding to my patients.  I believe this will make a difference.  I pledge to show my smile and persistent thoughts to make a difference.
I pledge I will continue to be the best nurse that I can be.  I love my job it is my passion.  I will always remember Tommy.
I make a pledge to ensure I look at every person who has dementia as an individual.  To also look at their needs but ask them what their wishes are.
I pledge to continue to build my skills and enhance my knowledge base.  Enabling me to pass this on to everyone in my life.  To help to make the world more loving – Sharon Houghton
I pledge to continue and improve on delivering staff learning and development for dementia care and observe practice – Juanita Hughes
I pledge to make a conscious effort to do my best to make a positive difference for every patient, colleague and member of the public I deal with daily – Stephanie Rayson
I pledge to listen to cares when they come into hospital, to ask If their ok, to tell them what a brave important job they do to help – Victoria Plant
I pledge to always listen to and witness how we could improve.
I pledge to be supportive in all I do in my service delivery.
I pledge to continue to care and do so every day both in my work and personal life.
I pledge to continue to provide `individual` care recognising the patients are a whole person and not a number – Justine  
I pledge to make a difference to the world of dementia to try and see it their thoughts from their perspective – Vanessa 
I pledge to see dementia`s impact on the individual and their families.
I pledge, I will not use the word `challenging` and tell my colleagues at work not to use it.
I pledge to always include the cares, families and person’s story, wishes and needs in all my teaching to all health professionals –Christine
I pledge to change my attitude in everyday day life until the end of time.  Be kind and be caring.  Be thoughtful and if not sure ask – we are all human – Sandra
pledge to be there for the people who really need help, love, care and protection.
I pledge to do my best and truly listen to the patients and their carers – They are the experts on them as people and the role they play is so very valuable – Becky
I pledge to treat everybody as an individual and to challenge poor practice.  I will aim to give the best possible care – Lindsey
I pledge to make a difference in people’s love stories within my community role – Dawn
I pledge to care for everyone even if it’s not my job in everyday life I will care for everyone.
I pledge to really listen to patients and care and share my experience and knowledge to offer them confidence and hope – Sharon Graham
I pledge to make the care of patients diagnosed with dementia a priority in my nursing career – Thelma
I pledge to remember in the care I deliver daily, the person is an individual at all times.
I pledge to help people be the people they want to be, in spite of their illness – Joanne Allen

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Be inspired - Julie Sheen - proud RMN (newly qualified)

I was having one of those mornings  when this e mail from the wonderful kind Julie Sheen - proud RMN (newly qualified) arrived and made the biggest difference to my mood and day 

I had the great privilege to meet Julie a last month at a student led conference at Teesside University 
 Julie's passion and enthusiasm made my heart smile 

As I left that day Julie said she would be sharing ' make a difference ' as part of a talk she had soon
You can read the amazing story below 

Thank you Julie for the kindness ,your story and for making a difference 

Julie Sheen - proud RMN (newly qualified).

 On 25th September 2014 I was asked to deliver a motivational speech to 280 new nursing students at The University of Chester as part of their induction week and was daunted to be met with the sight of 280 expectant faces looking back at me

 I was asked to tell them about my journey from depression to Downing Street, as I had been cared for in my past as a patient and now, as I won Nursing Standard Student Nurse of the Year and Student Nursing Times Care maker of the year, I was soon  to visit 10 Downing Street at The invitation of the Prime Minister.

  I was also encouraged to explain the yearlong-campaign  I ran in partnership with my lecturer and the students union which was aimed at improving the mental wellbeing of students. 

I wanted to explain what I had achieved and encourage their broader involvement with their University which would not only supplement their training, but would also develop them as people, which I feel would make them more effective practitioners of the future.

  As I began to think about that I began to  realise that it was not about encouraging them to do things so that they can receive shiny trophies, but very nice they are, however to inspire them to make a difference to others. 

Therefore after outlining the above I spoke about three people who had inspired me recently: my lecturer Julie Dulson (the kind of nurse I aspire to be), Becky Lees who was the vice president of Chester Students Union and now student engagement officer (my critical friend and who encouraged me as a mature student with more ‘labels’ than you could imagine) and finally but certainly not last Tommy Whitelaw.  I explained how Tommy was doing possibly a bigger and more important of a tour than John Bishop this year!  After explaining how Tommy raises the extremely thought provoking issues re the day to day issues faced by carers of people who are experiencing dementia, I highlighted that every single student nurse will be part of someone’s dementia journey and the difference they can make to that journey. 

 I then asked them to do something inspirational right there andthen, which was to make their own quick pledge to carers, asking for even just one word even.  I asked them to then hold up their pledges together and was delighted that now rather than the frightening hall full of faces I now saw a wonderful sight of pledges.  This made me now inspired to make my own new pledge: “I pledge to turn the ‘sea’ of countless faces of healthcare from something daunting for carers to something supportive and caring”.

Having now typed up all of the 155 pledges I received back that day it stood out to be how many times the words ‘listen’ ‘care’ and ‘smile’ were repeated, if we all just followed those three words, I am sure we can Make a Difference.

Julie Sheen - proud RMN (newly qualified).

1. Listen and communicate compassion
2. Help
3. Help People smile and laugh
4. Listen
5. Give them more support and listen to them to promote good care
6. To help people with dementia and carers by educating people who don’t know or fully understand; to bring awareness
7. Help raise awareness
8. To listen more and have more awareness of dementia
9. Be compassionate for good care and support everyone equally
10. Listen
11. Support
12. Support and stability so that they are not alone
13. Listen
14. More support for those who are carers of people with dementia at home
15. I will listen to them
16. Raise awareness 
17. Reassurance
18. Care and support
19. To always listen and to be a figure of support for anybody, from any walk of life, who is a carer for somebody with dementia
20. Care
21. Patience
22. Consider THEIR views
23. Be there
24. Show patience
25. Empower and thank them
26. Support
27. Listen
28. Make a difference
29. Raise awareness
30. Listen
31. Listen and support
32. Listen and smile
33. Give them someone to talk to
34. Understand
35. Raise awareness for the carers
36. Be there
37. Listen to them for advice
38. I will help other care workers to understand dementia
39. Listen
40. Raise awareness
41. Be patient
42. Listen
43. I will smile
44. I will support and learn to understand
45. Advocate or give them a voice
46. Listen
47. I will care and show compassion to all service users and carers affected by dementia
48. Listen
49. Raise awareness
50. Listen to them
51. Care
52. Make them aware of the help available 
53. Talk to them
54. Learn
55. Just listen
56. Give them time and spend quality time with them
57. Give them a voice
58. Fight for them and support them
59. Give them TLC and support
60. Put in passion and the 6Cs
61. Spend more time assisting carers for people with dementia.  Become a dementia friend to widen my knowledge of dementia so that I can be more understanding of the condition
62. I will always take their needs in to account
63. Have empathy and encourage.  Sit with them and listen.
64. Listen and support
65. Be a dementia friend
66. Learn and care
67. Give them a voice (a voice to make a change)
68. Listen
69. Learn
70. Give them a voice 
71. Friend
72. Listen to them
73. Become a dementia friend
74. Be nice
75. Listen and support
76. Shoulder to cry on
77. Give them power to change a life
78. Make time to listen
79. Listen, talk, give time
80. I will become a dementia friend
81. Listen
82. Become a dementia friend
83. Talk about it and promote carers, make people aware of what carers do
84. Love
85. Try to raise awareness
86. I will listen
87. Dignity (let them keep it) we are ALL human
88. Don’t be ageist
89. Treat them how you would like to be treat yourself
90. Support and care
91. Listen
92. Help them and make them smile
93. Smile and care
94. Listen
95. Fight 
96. Listen
97. Support
98. Love and listen
99. Listen
100. Support
101. Be more understanding
102. More time, support and praise
103. Make time for them
104. Be polite and understanding
105. Compassionate
106. Show some understanding
107. Increase awareness
108. Protect and reassure
109. Take time to listen and understand
110. Be compassionate
111. Help it to be well known around the world to get better support and more people to listen for better quality of care
112. Use courage
113. Understand and empathise
114. To listen, to help, to support, to be there if needed
115. I will listen and show compassion
116. Support
117. Have more patience and promote their independence in their job
118. Pray
119. More support so they have a voice
120. More support
121. Respect
122. Learn
123. Promote support
124. Patience
125. Care
126. Gain more understanding
127. Support
128. Listen 
129. Support
130. Smile
131. Understand
132. Patience
133. Listen
134. To listen and advocate
135. Listen
136. To be there. To have a friend and to listen, put in place what they need
137. Care
138. Listen
139. Smile
140. Listen
141. Talk to them
142. Provide care with empathy and understanding
143. Listen
144. Be friendly and helpful
145. Be friendly with them and make them smile
146. Listen
147. Courage
148. Listen
149. Learn
150. Help
151. Care
152. Listen and understand
153. Care
154. Learn
155. Listen

My mums name was Joan ,my Mum Had Dementia - our Story 9 Short Films

Tommy’s speech, providing a carer’s perspective,  on the theme of “ No – one ever asked   ” highlighted the transformational impact that ...