Friday, 18 May 2018

Dementia Carer Voices May 2018 Newsletter

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Welcome to Dementia Carer Voice’s May Newsletter

My name is Matthew and I’ve just finished my fourth month working as the new Policy and Information Assistant on the Dementia Carer Voices team at the ALLIANCE.

It has been a really busy few months for Team DCV but I’m really enjoying my work here so far. I have seen first-hand the impact our project has and the difference it is making in people’s lives.

My job is to support the work of the Dementia Carer Voices project by writing content for the website, conducting background research and engaging with partners across the health and social care sector.

You can read all about the work we have done in the first few months of the year below. We hope you find it interesting!

Poetry Project

We are currently working on a project with the University of Glasgow to collect poetry from people living with Dementia, their carers and loved ones. ALLIANCE Director Irene Oldfather and UK Lead Tommy Whitelaw previously worked together in partnership with Jane and Diane collecting letters from carers.

We are proud to be able to work with Jane Joy (Nursing & Health Care Lecturer at the University of Glasgow) and Dr Diane Willis (Senior Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University) again on this exciting project. To date, we have received 56 poems. Each of them provides a unique and incredibly moving depiction of life with dementia.

It is the intention of Diane and Jane to examine the poems from this time up to the present day and share their content for educational and publication purposes. This will help to inform carers and health providers on the needs of individuals living and caring for people with dementia.

Share Your Opinion

Would you like to share your experience of living with dementia, caring for a loved one or working in health and social care? Or do you work within an organisation or project that aims to support people who are living with dementia, caring for a loved one or working in health and social care?

The Dementia Carer Voices team would love to give you a chance to share your opinion on the ALLIANCE website! We have a huge outreach and offer a great platform for people who are looking to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas.

We have hosted opinion pieces from Kate Swaffer, the East Renfrewshire Prevention team, Lingo Flamingo, the Care Inspectorate and Carers Scotland in the past. However, we are not exclusively seeking opinions from organisations. We are also interested in promoting the voice of lived experience.

Our pieces are usually 600 words at the very most. If you’re interested, please also send us a copy of your organisation’s logo (if applicable) and a photo of the author which we can upload to accompany the text.

To submit a guest opinion, or for more information, feel free to email us at
Our Recent Opinion Pieces

‘What Matters to You Day?’ Day 2018

‘What Matters to You?’ Day 2018 is coming up on the 6 June. ‘What Matters to You?’ Day aims to encourage and support more meaningful conversations between people who provide health and social care and the people, families and carers who receive health and social care.

You can find out more about the day on their website.

Tommy recently wrote an opinion piece for our website stressing the importance of the five ‘Must Do With Me’ steps. You can watch him speak about this on our YouTube channel.

Last year, we recorded podcasts and we are keen to support more conversations and case studies this year. If you’re interested in getting involved email us at
Tommy's WMTY Day Opinion Piece

Annual Conference

The ALLIANCE’s Annual Conference is coming up on the 4 June at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Glasgow.

Action: The 2nd Health and Social Care Integration Event will offer opportunities for people and organisations to take part in meaningful, open and honest discussion. By sharing stories and showcasing initiatives that are helping to improve people’s lives, the ALLIANCE’s 2018 annual conference will provide an important contribution to the debate around health and social care in Scotland.

The 2018 event will focus on Action and will showcase people and organisations working on innovative, engaging and co-produced projects that aim to improve outcomes for people who access and deliver support and services in Scotland.

You can visit our website for a full list of speakers and workshops. If you are interested in attending, you can register here.
Register for the ALLIANCE Annual Conference
Further News

You Can Make a Difference Campaign

We are excited to announce that we have now received our 18,000th pledge to make a difference! Our You Can Make a Difference campaign has now reached over 120,000 people across more than 700 talks and have met so many remarkable people so far.

These 18,000 pledges are from a personal perspective so each of them is unique and from the heart. 18,000 people have stopped and reflected on what they can do in their lives to make a difference. And no matter what your role, everyone has the potential to transform the lives and experiences of people with dementia and their carers, often in seemingly small ways.

You can read all of the pledges we have received so far on our website, as well as our pledge case studies, most recent publication and 5 Steps to Change resource.
Our Pledges

Activities for People Living with Dementia

You can have a look at the News Section of our website to keep track of dementia friendly events and activities that are coming up in 2018. The Social Programme has announced six months of free activities for anyone affected by dementia, whilst Glasgow Movie Memories has recently announced the next three months of film screenings as a part of their ongoing initiative.
Free Activiities for Anyone Living with Dementia

The Scottish Ambulance Service

Our ALLIANCE Director Irene Oldfather has recently been appointed to the Board of the Scottish Ambulance Service. Irene commented that ‘it is a great honour to have been invited to sit on the Board. I’m looking forward to working to make a difference.’
Scottish Ambulance Service


You can find a range of resources that are useful for people living with dementia on the Support and Information Page of our website. For example, NHS Health Scotland, in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland, have recently published a range of free resources to support people with dementia, their carers and people working in the field.

Dementia Carer Voices

Visit us online
Follow us on:

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

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Ask What Matters - Listen to What Matters - Do What Matters

June 6th is ‘What Matters to You?’ Day. A brilliant initiative founded by our colleagues in Scotland that we at Dementia Carer Voices are proud to incorporate within our You Can Make a Difference campaign, tour and resources. I am very honoured to represent the ALLIANCE and sit on the national steering group.
We absolutely support having a ‘What Matters to You?’ conversation based on the five ‘Must Do With Me’ steps:
If we can flip the conversation away from what’s the matter with you to what and who matters to you we feel we will have better conversations, relationships and care.
Asking and listening to what matters informs around 40% of the nearly 18,000 personal pledges we have received today. It also supports many of the case studies that have turned these pledges into purposeful actions.
Last year, for ‘What Matters to You?’ Day we recorded podcasts and we are keen to support more conversations and case studies this year. If you’re interested in getting involved email us at
Your story, my story, all of our stories matter. So please get in touch with the team if you would like more information on our work, campaigns and tour. Let’s all ask what matters, listen to what matters and do what matters.
For more information you can have a look at the What Matters to You website (this link will take you away from our website).
Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Make a Difference 2018 ‘It’s all about people and relationships‘ People .Places and Pledges

The last few years have been quite an incredible journey, ending 2017 at Wilshaw General Hospital talk 667, reaching more than 100,000 people in person, on our make a difference tour across the country.  With 17,000 Nurses, Students, Hospitals, Care Homes, Universities, Colleges and Individuals making pledges and commitments to make a difference In so many ways and settings.
Reflecting over the break and looking ahead to 2018, the theme has been consistent, and I know will continue to be so, that its people who change lives, its people who make a difference over and above policies and strategies, its people who make the difference every day.
This has been reflected within the pledges received and people I feel so lucky to have met on the tour.  Remarkable people, doing remarkable things every day.
We are so very proud to be sharing key messages at talks in Scotland  from Professor Fiona McQueen CNO for Scotland and in England Leading Change adding Value Framework for Nursing Midwifery and Care Staff for Professor Jane Cummings CNO to help support pledges and turning good intentions into purposeful actions.
Someone asked me what did I learn caring for my mum living with dementia, I feel a lesson my mum had been trying to teach me all of my life and maybe should have listened much sooner, that people are amazing, remarkable, everyone has a story to tell and if we take the time to listen, we will find out how remarkable they are, taking time I feel to ask ‘ what matters to you and who matters to you.
We look forward to continuing our make a difference tour across the country, meeting more remarkable people, strengthening existing and building new relationships along the way.
If you would like us  to bring our ‘Make a Difference’ talk to your place of work, please contact us at

You can read every pledge at the links below


06/02/18 Craigielea, People, Pledges, Music, Wishes and Life Stories

16/02/18 Portsmouth Hospitals Launch Pledge Tree

20/02/18 Queen Margaret University, Nursing Students Add Pledges

21/02/18 Abertay University open sessions

28/02/18 The Midlands and East Region LCAV Conference Delegates Add Pledges






03/11/17 Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust 
06/11/17 Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnerships

07/11/17 New College Lanarkshire

08/11/17  Care at home teams Livingston 

09/11/17 Hospice at Home teams Carlisle and Lakelands 

16/11/17  NHS Lanarkshire Quality Improvement Day

October 2017
04/10/17 City of Glasgow College Pledge to Make a Difference
25/10/17  NhHS Borders District Nursing 
26/18/17 Stirling University 3rd Year Nursing
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015

December 2014
15/16.12.14 Norfolk and Suffolk

November 2014
03.11.14 Online pledges
07.11.14 Burton Hospital
13.11.14  Pledges of the week
24.11.14 The Retreat York
October 2014
13.10.14 More Pledges
27-30.10.14 NHS Highland Tour

September 2014
01.09.14  Teesside University
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
3/4.06.14 NHS Conference
27.06.14 BCDA Birmingham
May 2014 
April 2014
(08 -10).04.14 NHS Dumfries & Galloway 
March 2014
February 2014
19.02.14 NHS Fife
January 2014
We began the campaign by asking “What does caring mean to you?”
Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg

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 ...