One mans mission to raise awareness of dementia.
Son, Carer, Campaigner.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, 4 January 2017
Thank you for the Kindness 2016 - Here are a few Moments from the last Year
As 2016 comes to a close we thought we’d share some updates and highlights from the last year below
My wee blog that started when caring for my kind mum Joan, our films, produced to share our story has now reached 1 Million reads, film views and meeting people in person at talks on the tour.
I want to thank everyone from my heart who has taken the time to read, share, attend a talk, send a letter or comment for the great kindness and support.
This kindness and support played such a big part in helping my mum living with dementia and myself as a son and carer and has continued to do so till this day as project engagement lead at dementia carer voices
Thank you to everyone for your commitment and inspirational words over the last year, pledging to make a difference to the lives of people with dementia, their carers, and families
Dementia Carer Voices reached a new milestone of 12,000 pledges as part of its mission to give Health and Social Care Professionals and students nationwide a fuller understanding of what it means to be a carer of someone with dementia.
The campaign offers carers of people with dementia a chance to have their stories told to professional and students. The pledges encourage them to reflect on what they have learnt and pledge how they can make a difference to the lives of people with dementia and their carers.
Hospitals, Care Homes, Universities, and Colleges have created pledge trees to help support colleagues to fulfil their pledge, and to allow values based reflective practice. It aims to empower individuals to make a positive difference often by making a simple change,
“I pledge to always see the person and not the dementia, and to always show compassion and care to others”
In partnership with Glasgow Clyde College and Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for Transport and Islands, Dementia Carer Voices launched a community pledge in Pollok, giving constituents the chance to reach out to their neighbours and help reduce isolation and loneliness.
Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw is a life-long constituent of Pollok, where he was born and later returned to care for his late mum Joan. From the success of our You Can Make a Difference campaign, the team wanted to extend the invitation to the community to make a pledge to the whole community of Pollok, not just to people living with dementia and their carers, but to their neighbours and wider community.
Chaired by Director Irene Oldfather, the event celebrated pledges made by students at the Glasgow Clyde College, introduced participants to their local link worker, and the community assets currently mapped on ALISS.
Journal gives platform to carers of people with dementia
A joint article has been published between the ALLIANCE and the University of Glasgow, based on the letters Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw collected from carers across Scotland. These letters have been analysed by Jane Joy and Diane Willis from the University of Glasgow, with the results of their study now available:
Examining Dementia Caregivers’ Experiences, The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.59-72, November 10, 2016. By Jane Joy, Thomas James Whitelaw, Irene Oldfather and Diane Willis.
Director Irene Oldfather and Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw have appeared on a number of broadcasts to promote rights and the carer voice, including
BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour
BBC Radio Scotland with Kaye Adams
BBC Scotland 6 o’clock news
BBC Radio Scotland with John Beattie
BBC Radio 4: Four Thought
Our selection of films has also been used as part of training in Universities across Scotland, and various health boards and social work services, helping to promote culture change within health and social care
It was an honour for the team when Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw was nominated as a finalist in the Individual category of the Kate Granger Awards 2016. Now in their third year, the awards were set up by Kate Granger, a doctor who worked tirelessly to raise awareness around compassion in the NHS through her #hellomynameis social media campaign. There were more than 130 nominations for this year’s awards, and we’d like to thank Joan, a transformation nurse, for taking the time to nominate Project Engagement Lead Tommy.
Humza Yousaf, MSP for Glasgow Pollok, nominated Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw, lifelong resident of Pollok for a Local Hero award.
Speaking about the nomination, Humza Yousaf, MSP said ‘Tommy has worked relentlessly in highlighting the issue of dementia and in trying to improve the quality of life of people with dementia and their carers.’
Master of the University for Health, Social Care, Education and Policy making influence.
In October, Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw received his honorary masters from the Open University. The Open University has developed several modules which help students to understand and respond sympathetically and appropriately to the issues which dementia presents. They have benefited tremendously from Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw’s insights, and he has used videos and lectures to open students’ eyes to the experience of caring for someone with dementia.
Launching of NHS
England’s new national framework, Leading Change, Adding Value was launched on
the 18th May, having been co-developed with a wide range of national
organisations, practitioners, people with long term conditions, carers and the
public. Dementia Carer Voices helped influence this framework so it was a huge
honour for Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw to introduce Professor Jane
Cummings, the Chief Nursing Officer for England, at the launch of the
framework. The Launch was streamed live around the country and as far as
Australia, New Zealand and America.
Over the last year Dementia Carer Voices has attended several conferences which have helped promote our activities and the ALLIANCE’s work, as well as a chance to participate in shared learning, and extend our network.
Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw was invited alongside Nicola Sturgeon, to give one of the Keynote speeches at the RCN Congress 2016 which was held at the SECC. The event was live streamed all over the world, and it was fitting that the keynote speech followed the RCN’s debate on dementia where Congress adopted the resolution ‘to lobby for better policy, to ensure a fair deal for dementia patients and carers when admitted to acute care.’
Dementia Scotland 2016
The Dementia Scotland 2016 Conference focused on the progress of Scotland’s ongoing National Dementia Strategy, whilst also examining the aspirations of the new 2016-2019 strategy. Director Irene Oldfather presented at the morning plenary session about a human rights based approach to Dementia Care, discussing the Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and their Carers, and how to embed and implement a rights based approach.
Dementia Carer Voices endeavours to engage with carers through mixed medium content and approaches in order to ensure the voices of carers are captured, and crucially are used to inform policy and practice.
The project has begun expanding our collection of case studies with podcasts and short video clips in which we speak to people with dementia, carers, and health and social care staff, about their experiences. See our podcasts and case studies here.