Thursday, 9 June 2016

Thank you Chris and Jayne

Someone asked me a few weeks back ‘what did I learn when caring for my mum who had dementia?’ I think the most important lesson my mum tried to teach me all my life  was that people are amazing and kind . 

Being kind is a gift we can all share, growing up you don’t always listen. I wish I had listened more, all of those years ago.

My mum living with dementia certainly helped me understand more about the kindness of people. I’ve been very lucky to meet incredible people every day through our project, talks, and travel-often leaving me thinking ‘I am so glad to have met you today.’

Two of those people are Chris and Jayne- we first met a few years back at a NHS EXPO Conference. We got chatting about my talks and life and Chris mentioned his diagnosis,


Chris and Jayne.jpg


I knew that day I had met two people who would be in my heart forever. Since then we have met many times at events,  and every time I hear them speak I travel home feeling glad to have met them again and to have listened.

Chris and Jayne do not just raise awareness about dementia and caring, they help you reflect on and understand more about yourself and life.
I won’t try and tell Chris and Jayne’s story.  It is a story that is best and most beautifully told by them themselves, as I'm sure anyone who saw last week's powerful Panorama documentary 'Living with Dementia: Chris's Story' will agree.
The focus of Carers Week this year is on building communities which support carers to look after their loved ones well, while recognising that they are people with needs of their own.  Learning from first hand experience is such an important part of this.  I know that I learned so much from my Mum and I think we can all learn a huge amount from stories like those of Chris and Jayne.
Thank you Mum for introducing me to remarkable people like Chris and Jayne and thank you Chris and Jayne for introducing and sharing your life story to the world.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Honored Invited to give one of the Keynote talkS at RCN Congress 2016 #rcn16


I am truly honoured to be invited to give one of the Keynote speeches at the RCN Congress 2016 #rcn16 Wednesday 22 June, 12.30 – 13.15

This years Congress will be held in Glasgow my home town and at the SECC,In my previous life I worked many times with bands at the SECC whilst on tour,This will be a more emotional,important visit for me than any I may have made there in the past

I would like to thank the RCN ,Janet Davies Chief Executive  and General Secretary,Michael Brown,Chair of Council and Stuart McKenzie, Chair of Congress  for this great Honour
You can find out More about the Congress at the link HERE along with the RCN  home page Here 
Thank You RCN for this kind and incredible opportunity


Tommy is delivering a keynote address at RCN Congress on Wednesday 22 June at 12.30pm. We also  have a Congressdebate on dementia currently scheduled for Wednesday morning, prior to Tommy’s address.

You can view the live stream at the page here and we’ll be tweeting during Congress (Saturday 18 June – Wednesday 22 June) from @theRCN using #RCN16. 

you can follow  on twitter for more info congress via  #rcn16
RCN @thercn
Stuart McKenzie @stueymckenzie
Janet Davies N
Michael Brown @mickbro07

RCN Students  

 A full list key note speakers HERE
Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg

Friday, 3 June 2016

Second Academy Creative Competition now Open


The Health and Social Care Academy @HandSCAcademy have launched the second Academy Creative Competition. The theme of the competition is Voices of the Experts’.

They are asking entrants to respond to the question:

‘You are the expert

  • What does a healthier Scotland mean to you?’
  • What does a fairer Scotland mean to you?’
  • What changes would make a difference to your life?’

People are invited to submit their entries in the following categories:

·         Poetry·         Short Stories
·         Photography·         Short films and film/play scripts
·         Music·         Arts and Crafts

For more information please download the flyer here

The competition will close on 30 July 2016.  Download the entry form here

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Dementia Love story or tragedy we all have our part to play.

Love story or tragedy we all have our part to play.

My mum’s life was built on a love story, her love for family, friends she cared for but most of all mums love for my dad and his love for her. Growing up like many family’s we had our moments but my mums love always conquered. We were always put first at all times and mums ability to care for everyone was inspiring, she was magnificent in my eyes and I miss her dearly.  I was thinking about recovery yesterday, I don’t think I will ever recover from missing my mum and a big part of that, the biggest part was all that dementia brought. 

My mum met my dad and they fell in love, so there began a love story and no matter what challenges came our way we always had love to get us through. There is a pain in my heart that just won’t go away and I don’t think it ever will, it was just too hard and I felt too helpless far too often.  Dementia on its own can break your heart and when dad passed away 10 years ago I thought mum would die from a broken heart, I truly did but what is cruller to die from a broken heart or not remember the person your heart was broken for.  Mum had family and friends to care for and worry about, she worried and cared for everyone and everything so much so that she put aside and hidden her broken heart.  I can’t hide my broken heart, there was too much struggle so many days feeling helpless, too little understanding from within and towards us and in my opinion across society about dementia.

My mum like all mums and dads deserve the right to keep their life stories closer to love stories and away from tragedies. Society has its own part to play until we take dementia and the understanding of dementia to the wider society then veering towards tragedy will always be there until the people we encounter understand the impact this illness has and their actions have on our lives.  The final chapter of our lives and love stories will always be affected, if only people could understand. 

My heart smiles when I think of the people who helped keep mums love story alive against all odds during her journey with dementia, even though this was only few, they will always have a place in my heart for helping a son and his mum get though the best they could.  The down side is we encountered too many who held us back, who never engaged with mum, who only saw a wee woman with dementia and almost wrote mum off.  My mum was never just a wee woman with dementia, she was Joan Whitelaw magnificent, kind, caring and right to the end her eyes shone with love she cared more about us than many cared about her.

Love story or tragedy what part will you play in the life of others?


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

Honored to be taking part at the Dementia Ambassadors support in Kirkcaldy


With great thanks to  Wendy Johnston Project Officer-Promoting Excellence Scottish Social Services Council for the kind Invite to take part meet with and speak at the Dementia Ambassadors at Abbotsford Care in Kirkcaldy

I am so very hounred to be invited along and help celebrate  the work Dementia Ambassadors do and a day of welcoming New ambassadors 

A big thank you to Wendy and all at Scottish Social Services Council for the kind invite 




Speaking Belfast - Quality Improvement IN social work Conference June21st

With great thanks to Shaun Maher @s4maher Strategic Advisor for Person-Centred Care and Improvement Health Quality and Strategy Directorate  Scottish Government for the kind invite to speak with him at the Quality Improvement IN social work June 21st in Belfast 

The programme  provides a unique opportunity    for Social  work in Northern Ireland to lead improvement focused practice across the region 

I have had the great honour   to speak with Shaun In Scotland on a few occasions and I am very much looking forward to speaking with him in Belfast 

Thank you Shaun for the Invite also a massive thank yo to Pat McAuley Social Care Governance and Sean Holland Chief Social Services Officer Northern Ireland for this kind opportunity ,looking very much forward to meeting everyone and learning more about the work in Belfast and across Northern Ireland 
You can find more information about the session here: QI in SW regional programme final

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

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Look out for Dementia Carer Voices stand at the NHSScotland ConferenceJune 14 -15 #NHSScot16

Look out for Dementia Carer Voices at the NHSScotland Event at the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre, Glasgow, 14-15th June 2016.  #nhsscot15
Team photo April 2016
The theme this year of the event is ‘Transformational Change for Health and Social Care’ and is a chance to find out more about what health and care services have been doing to improve care for people in Scotland.
We’ll be around on both days at stand 60A, and you can also visit the main ALLIANCE stand at stand 65. Make sure to say hello and find out what the team has been up to lately on our You Can Make a Difference Campaign and our work around What Matters to You day.


Speaking NOHPG study day Leeds Saturday June 11th


With great thanks to Irene Foster Oral Health Improvement Programme Officer
NHS Health Scotland, Iain Corran  BDS  LL.B  MA  PgCert, and all at the  National Oral Health Promotion Group.

For the kind invite to speak at the  NOHPG study day  Leeds Saturday June 11th 

I am very hounred to be invited and look forward TO attending and meeting everyone 





Speaking HFMA West Midlands Branch Annual Conference Wolverhampton Racecourse


With great thanks to  Georgie Callaghan South West Skills Development Manager, hfma  West Midlands for the kind invite to speak at the HFMA West Midlands Branch Annual Conference Wolverhampton Racecourse 

I have had the great honour to speak at previous HFMA branches conferences and look forward to attending,meeting everyone and speaking at the West Midlands annual conference 





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 ...