In the shoes of… | Gill’s Mum. Keep Calm and Carry On.

Keep calm...Thank you to all our Twitter friends for the lovely supportive messages we have received over the last four months while Mum has been staying with us, following an accident in which she sustained a fracture to her lower back. It has had a big effect on her mobility and has been a shock to all of us, wondering what to do for the best. Anyway, things have moved on and we have sold Mum’s house and are looking forward to a new chapter in her life. Her resilience amazes me – she is a product of the original ‘Keep calm and carry on’ generation, with many lessons for younger people, I think.

We have inevitably been sorting out all Mum’s stuff, ready for the ‘downsize’. I have included at the end of the blog some of my tweets as I went about the final stages of this painful process…

Well, I suppose it had to happen sometime. I have had to sell my lovely old house and shall be an inmate – sorry, a resident – in an assisted flat!

It is a really nice flat which I now own with all you could wish for. The other residents are very nice and friendly. There is a lovely general lounge and dining room, where they provide lunches and teas at extremely reasonable prices, if you don’t feel like doing it yourself.

I just didn’t want to move. I had my own little routine where I went out on the bus (the little friendly bus!) in the morning, visited the library, had coffee and talked to people in my favourite café and did some shopping.  I suppose I shall still be able to do this but I shall really miss the little bus.

The reason for all this change is that I had an accident and can’t stay in my own house any more, without help, and these new flats, just built, seem to be the answer. They are right in the centre of town, near all the places I want and I also have a friend who recently moved in!

Getting moved, however, is a nightmare! There is so much to do and so many people who have to be told. In fact, it is a double nightmare! So many people to be told AND I don’t do things online! I am old-fashioned, as many people are at my age. I know very few people with computers or mobiles. At least I have a mobile!

Changing from a fairly big house to a small flat is awful – you just have to be absolutely ruthless and throw away things you would really like to keep. My family are wonderful, helping me enormously but in the end I have to decide. I’m sure there will be things I regret but it has all happened so suddenly. I haven’t had time to think. And I don’t like making decisions anyway!

Some of Mum's shoes...

Some of Mum’s shoes…

The latest in decisions is quite funny really. I was looking at all the lovely shoes I used to wear before I was reduced to basic Hotter, wider fit! Pretty shoes and sandals with quite high heels and all mostly new! I hope they can be of use to someone and will be enjoyed!

Now lots of things are being delivered here to take with me. Things to make life as easy as possible in my new home. There is a walking frame with four wheels to make walking easier and to hold a hand bag, carry books etc. Very useful and not likely to trip people up as the three wheelers could. Also a frame for the toilet to make that easier too, and a stool to sit in the shower. All these things have been recommended by Laura, the daughter of one of Gill’s friends, whose job it is to recommend them and to order them for delivery. She knows her stuff!

While I was looking in my old sideboard to see what to get rid off, I came across lots of things I had forgotten about. There was an old cribbage board made by a ship’s carpenter, which my father played on with me. Various glasses, swizzle stick for cocktails and a cocktail set that we hadn’t used for ages. And a very useful bottle opener. Sounds very alcoholic, my sideboard. That is what sideboards are for!!

My father used to bring home wine from South Africa and other places in big stone kegs. He was a Chief Engineer in the Merchant Navy. I remember one was Madeira – “A glass of Madeira, my dear!”, regardless of the time of day. Very popular with our neighbours at the time. Life was so much simpler then, I suppose.

Please post comments to encourage Mum as she makes this big step today into the unknown…

 

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Sharing global social media stories – in Puerto Rico and Australia!

Today / tonight / yesterday Helen Bevan and Mary Freer give a talk on using social media for transformational change. The talk is at the #APACForum in Melbourne and who knows exactly when it is, it is all so confusing with the different global clocks! The more important thing is that this will be a significant session in terms of the global lessons that these two talented change leaders will share … and I am honoured to know them both!

Helen @HelenBevan is Chief Transformation Officer, NHS Horizons Group at NHS, Improving Quality and Mary @FreerMary is a maverick change agent in Australia … so just the sort of alliance I find fascinating and rewarding.

Img_6418 with Mary FreerI met Mary Freer@FreerMary when she attended one of the Whose Shoes? workshops Kate Swaffer and I ran in Adelaide

… and we even had a very nice lunch in a local restaurant ;-)

Kate and I gave out Mary’s postcards promoting Change Day Australia – and my (spot the koalas) picture is even included in Mary’s new crowd-sourcing video for Change Day Australia, 2015:

So hearing that Mary and Helen were doing this important talk made me think back to the wonderful invitation Kate Swaffer and I got to present our own social media story at the Opening Reception of the World Alzheimer’s conference in Puerto Rico in May.

I shared some of the story via tweets at the time

But I also took lots of photos and videos that I have not previously published.

A group of us have been experimenting with different social media formats for story telling…

I wanted to try something new and chose Storehouse as it claimed to be easy to upload up to 50 photos and videos – but I couldn’t make the videos work so have included a couple here via WordPress!

I particularly wanted you to experience the vibrant almost haunting music played by the band of students from the local Puerto Rico University at the Opening Ceremony:

And secondly, here are two short videos showing the beginning of our talk…

.. and end of our talk (we didn’t get the middle!)

- but other than that, the story is here on Storehouse. Please click the link!

VERDICT: Storehouse was very intuitive and it was good fun building it on my iPad, importing photos and switching them round to build the story – but not being able to include the videos was a pain!

Please take a look at the story on Storehouse and let me know what you think! :)

Posted in Blogs, dementia, in my shoes, personalisation, social media, well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Co-producing inclusive, vibrant #dementiachallengers events in Scotland

Well the invisible hordes are coming out of the shadows and becoming real people… very supportive, creative passionate people. And they are bringing their own ‘invisible hordes’ in their wake…

I would like to include here a lovely film made by Helen Bevan about how she sees the future of health and social care as we all find ways of coming together for transformational change. I like to think that the ‘Scotland story’ in this blog and other recent developments in the energy and connections being made around Whose Shoes? are a living example of the kind of 21st century connectivity Helen talks about. I enjoyed a lovely weekend with Helen and some other inspirational people making the original film and it is great to see how seeking feedback from ‘critical friends’ has helped Helen turn it into this powerful and somewhat magical vision:

I am learning to go with the flow. To find the energy, local energy – because there are so many great people out there who just want to make things happen for their own communities, people they care about.

Take Scotland as an example

I am really looking forward to presenting at the European Alzheimer’s conference in Glasgow.

The conference is Monday-Wednesday 20-22 October so it occurred to me that we could perhaps run a couple of Whose Shoes? workshops in Scotland on the Thursday and Friday. I have some existing great links in Glasgow and Dundee so they were tentatively suggested … and Twitter has taken over and filled in the gaps.

Before I could bat an eyelid, we had somehow co-produced a flyer for a generic event in Glasgow. And there has been fantastic interest. Huge thanks to the proactive approach taken by fab Yvonne and Anne-Marie at Dementia Scotland Co.

Similarly, we have crowd-sourced some key themes…

And it looks as though I have hooked up with just the right people. Making dementia training  fun.
Fun? – yes because that is how people engage, remember and are fired up to DO something.

And Scotland just seem to run with things!

The Dundee event has been an amazing example of Twitter at its best.

My friends in Dundee have been promising to invite me for some time so this was the perfect opportunity. There has been some truly wonderful energy!

We want to make the events diverse and inclusive

I don’t know who Rob is … and it doesn’t matter. The ‘invisible hordes’ are at work…
And the momentum builds as fab passionate people with shared values come together for transformational change

TOWICC!!? TOWICC!!? … Is this some strange Scottish ritual?

My mind goes wild trying to guess what it stands for, like a mad Christmas game of ‘Absolute Balderdash’. But the truth is that I don’t really need to know; I just need to let these amazing people think through their local issues and networks and work with them to see how best my Whose Shoes? approach can help them achieve the outcomes.

This interplay on Twitter is like a mini Whose Shoes? session 

… AHPs talking to a consultant surgeon, mixing in a carer or two, some innovative providers – people just talking as people, irrespective of formal roles…

And slowly they are bringing more people in – tapping their own networks and knowing where the local demand will be… policy people, medical students…

And Maureen set to work doing wonderfully clever stuff with my thistle! So to speak…

So now we have an ‘emblem’. So far so good…

Well, the conversations were very productive indeed. Mainly behind the scenes in lovely proactive Dundee…

And then Ang and Stephen Thompson at Dundee United Football Club come up with the most amazing offer – a venue for the event!

I am delighted that the event will be held in such a wonderful “social” setting rather than a medical centre as this supports all the key messages we are trying to convey about living well with dementia, maximising the assets of local communities.

I can’t wait to meet the wonderful people of Dundee including a singing group and a football reminiscence group – bringing stories alive!

So I am very excited about the forthcoming ‘Whose Shoes? tour’ of Scotland. I am excited about introducing my fellow ‘Southerners’ Ken Howard and Dorothy Hall.

I am excited about meeting everyone and making a difference through our collaborative events.

Not to mention the inevitable tweetups … ;-)

So the flights are booked. The potatoes are boiling…

Yes, it is all coming together nicely.
Except a pair of suitable tartan shorts for Ken.

 Tartan shorts for Ken. Can anyone help? ;-)

Posted in Blogs, co-production, community engagement, compassion, dementia, education, in my shoes, personalisation, social care, well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the shoes of… | Gill’s Mum. A fabulous wedding. And a new life ahead…

Last week, our eldest son got married!

Mum, a.k.a @Gills_Mum, has been doing quite a bit of writing recently and I thought you might enjoy her ‘take’ on Abi and Andrew’s wedding … and also an update on how Mum is getting on…

Andrew and Abi wedding procession - YvonneWhat an amazing week. Starting with the loveliest of weddings where everything was beribboned: the invitations, church pews and orders of service were all decorated with cream ribbons and pink and cream flowers. Not overdone, just very pretty, The bride’s dress was gorgeous, with a swirling short train and the bridegroom (my grandson), his best man and all the ushers wore grey tailcoats with unusual, striking waistcoats. The guests all played along with lovely dresses and one or two super hats. The church was centuries old, Norman in parts and the vicar, who was retired, came back specially because he knew the family. His sermon was marvellous too. Funny and thoughtful and not at all at the usual dry-as-dust, send-to-sleep sermon at so many weddings.

Wedding - Andrew & AbiThe reception was held at a very old converted manor house hotel attached to a converted barn. The living accommodation was in the original house  – some with four poster beds! The actual reception was held in a marquee in the lovely grounds which, despite a visit from a near hurricane, stayed firmly on the ground and no one got wet!

Wedding Img_6599cWine flowed and the speeches were very funny, despite having to contend with the aforesaid near hurricane. The tribute to the three lovely bridesmaids nearly got wiped out!Wedding cake

A very enjoyable wedding breakfast (more wine, of course) followed, then dancing and later a hog roast when more guests arrived!! It was so lovely to spend time with family and old friends, including Theresa who has been  friends with Gill since they started secondary school aged 11 and used to spend so much time at our house when they were young. Another of Gill’s friends, Rosemary, made the wedding cake – it tasted as good as it looked! Eventually we all went to bed, tired out but immensely happy!

The second half of the week was quite different. It brought me down to earth again! I went to a lunch given by the people from whom I am buying a sheltered accommodation flat. I have been staying with Gill and her family since I had an accident three months. They have looked after me so well and I am feeling much better; now it is time to move on.

I met the people who are living in the flats and found them very nice and friendly. There is a dining room where lunch and tea are served every day, if required, at very reasonable cost. There is also a comfortable lounge, where they seem to hold lots of interesting activities, and also a pleasant little garden area. People were sitting in the lounge enjoying their coffee or tea and chatting to each other.

Mum - new flat Img_5053cEverything is brand new, having only just been built and there are many helpful aids, such as bars along the walls to give support if needed. The flat is fairly big, as these places go,  with the window giving onto a little patio – the only flat like it, it seems! All I have to do now is sell my own house and move in, and I am even being helped with this.

Big decision ahead though. What I can reasonably take from a big house to a small flat is not easy. Have to be quite ruthless, I suppose and I am not one for making big decisions!

Here goes!!!
_______________________________________________________

Please post comments, tips or messages of encouragement – Mum will love them :-)

Posted in Gill's Mum, Guest blog, health, housing, personalisation, well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Let’s harness the power of “invisible hordes” – together we can build a better future!

About a year ago, Helen Bevan compared me to Lois Weisburg.

And, when I did a bit of research to find out who this lady was, I was at first flattered and then intrigued … and then felt a bit of fraud. Lois was good at building connections and informal communities and, so it seems am I. But Lois managed to do this in the middle of a small town by talking to people she met whereas I have the infinite possibilities of technology and social media, and in particular the magical tool which is Twitter.

It is true that I am absolutely fascinated by making connections and have written about this before. I love meeting wonderful people, and equally pleased when I manage to connect other like-minded people and see them building their own relationships and collaborations.

This ability or gift, however you like to describe it, has led to the most amazing opportunities – but top of the list being the wonderful experiences I have had with my Australian friend Kate Swaffer (we met – you guessed it – via Twitter and blogging) culminating in a Whose Shoes? mini tour of Australia, December 2014,  and co-presenting our social media story at the Opening Reception of the World Alzheimer’s conference earlier this year.

So people ask how this happens – particularly people who don’t ‘get’ Twitter.

So this is what has happened in the last few days…

Thursday and Friday were fascinating days for me and seemed a microcosm of what is happening on a much larger scale in my life. Thursday was a series of face-to-face meetings; Friday was a very similar experience but the connections came more through telephone calls and social media.

I think to put my musings in context, I need to link at this point to ‘Invisible Hordes‘, a wonderful blog this week by Richard Martin, @IndaloGenesis .

I have found this blog so fascinating it is almost haunting. It is set in a recruitment context, but to me applies to every encounter that we have. When you consider that the person that you meet is not just one person with unique skills, knowledge and attributes, but the door to their own individual and unique network of friends and connections, it is truly mind blowing. This is very much the reality for all of us, if we let it be and if we are equally prepared to share our own ‘invisible hordes': the magic only happens through true reciprocity.

I think these thoughts and feelings have been highlighted for me because I have recently discovered a whole new community, I almost want to call it a family, of people who are passionate about maternity services.

Apart from having three children myself (an ‘expert by experience’, albeit a while ago!) this is a whole new area for me, but oh-so-familiar in terms of key challenges around all the things that I believe in and work so hard for: person centred approaches, dignity and respect for all and compassion and humanity and choice that empowers people rather than exploits vulnerability. I have been very honoured to be invited to write a chapter about this, which has now been accepted in the wonderful forthcoming book edited by Sheena Byrom and Professor Soo Downe “The Roar Behind the Silence: why kindness, compassion and respect matter in maternity care”

I will aim to write more about our Whose Shoes? maternity project when the time is right, but that is not the subject of this particular blog. It is more about the networks.

And as I sat in quite a small meeting at NHS England in London, it was as if the whole Twitter community was in the room.

There had been a huge buildup and the small team I am working with are using social media really well to build energy and bring passionate people together. This is just a flavour – honestly!

We even got sent some wooden clogs from Holland!

I am now in Twitter conversation with the Head of Midwifery in my local hospital in Coventry – indeed it looks as though we will meet! :)

It is fantastic to find there is so much passion and good practice around. Twitter is bringing us together in a web that is as rich and as beautiful as any spider could weave in the sunlight.

So, it is still only Thursday lunch-time and next I was meeting a school friend for lunch. I couldn’t believe the coincidence that her eldest daughter works with the people I had just met with and had come to give me a hug before the meeting started. The most senior person in the room had been to her wedding only a couple of months ago and had met my schoolfriend, the bride’s mother, and spoke highly of her. I couldn’t believe the coincidence, and again my mind went wild reflecting on how all our different personal and professional connections interplay.

It reminded me of the LinkedIn statistics where, as you link with each new person, it shows your own network expanding exponentially. Apparently I have…

  1. (1448)1st Connections
  2. (398,205) 2nd Connections
    and it seems you now have to pay to see how many 3rd connections ;)

And then in the afternoon I met Julian Stodd, a meeting that seemed long overdue as we have been fascinated by each other’s work for a long time. The timing on this day, when I was reflecting so intensely about connections, seemed extremely appropriate as Julian is as curious about networks as I am. We had met through Twitter but particularly through our blogs. But even that reinforced for me just how personal these matters are. Julian, as I suspected, is it very interesting guy, a real thinker and highly creative.

But for me it is his lovely pastel watercolour images that stay in my mind and bring alive the actual content.

Julian’s gold clouds, grey shadows and key words are a wonderfully simple and consistent form of communication.

I frequently post them to my Pinterest boards, and that in itself feels hugely symbolic. Those little pictures provide the gateway to the deep thinking that lies in each blog in the same way as the graphic recording that we frequently use at my own Whose Shoes? workshops.

Graphic by New Possibilities

Graphic by New Possibilities

I feel very fortunate to have the freedom to be able to be able to have such pleasant, thought-provoking meetings in the sunshine; but I’m sure meeting face-to-face builds new possibilities and is almost bound to open new doors. As our networks come closer together, we find new ways of collaborating to pursue our shared purpose of transformational change.

And Julian even let me try his brand-new GoogleGlass!

As you will read in his blog, he was like a kid at Christmas. I was very flattered that, with full directional support,  he found his way down Euston Road to meet me as it must have distracted him from the mission in hand. ;-) My first reaction was to think he had a specific sight problem…
 

Meanwhile I had a lovely phone call from someone I really respect in Wales. Again I will blog more about this when the time is right, as I suspect it will be by the end of this year. Suffice to say that this lady is not on Twitter but builds fantastic co-production networks through more conventional channels. Perhaps she is the real Lois Weisberg? However, she does use email, whereas Lois just had the fantastic capacity to get out and talk to people. Perhaps we should all do that more.

But, as the end of the week came, I sat back in awe and watched as the ‘Invisible hordes’ appeared from all directions, but mainly Scotland…

I put a tweet out a week ago and it has now turned into a mini Whose Shoes? tour of Scotland, building on the fact that I will already be in Glasgow with Ken Howard and other friends, presenting at the European Alzheimer’s conference in October.

Thanks to my wonderful mentor, Dr Sam Majumdar, I have learned to ‘go with the flow’, an approach that really worked in Australia where harnessing local energy (my friends Andrew Coulson and Kate Swaffer, but also Alzheimer’s Victoria, TACSI and other organisations) led to vibrant, well attended events that I could never have put together myself. It feels as if Scotland has the same energy, Harnessing ‘local assets’ and letting people lead the way is central to co-produced solutions and all of my work.

I have actually done very little other than to say I am keen.

I have been overwhelmed by the way people have jumped into action, offering help and support and wanting to experience the work we do –  getting people talking together… and building connections!

I have even been sent a selection of shoes and boots and suggestions for tartan shorts for Ken! I have been posting them diligently on my Pinterest boards.

The most rewarding and encouraging  thing has been that, not only has this support and enthusiasm come from my friends and supporters – real life friends like Sam, Maureen, Sandra and Agnes and ‘Twitter friends,’ but from their networks – the ‘invisible hordes. People I had not heard about a week ago are offering significant support with the project and I am in awe about how these things work and am very grateful!

WS benches Img_4850cThere have been a crazy number of tweets. You will be relieved that I will not attempt to capture them all but I love seeing the growing connections between different groups, breaking down barriers and silos. My Whose Shoes? tool has the different groups represented by different colours. Perhaps they are sitting on the different benches (the photo was taken in Scotland).

But we want to bring them ALL round one table together. As equals.

“It is time to add all the colours to your dream!” – Sam Majumdar

So it is time to apply the ‘Invisible Hordes” thinking not just to the recruitment process, but to life itself.
It will be SO much richer for it :-)

Posted in Blogs, co-production, community engagement, compassion, dementia, education, health, in my shoes, personalisation, social media, TLAP - Making It Real, well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

In the shoes of… | Gill’s Mum. A little common sense and compassion go a long way.

Mum’s life has been turned upside down recently. Like Geoff, in this story, she has suddenly lost a lot of independence. Until a couple of months ago, she was living on her own, catching the bus into town most days - it must be quite a shock coming to live with us as she recovers and we contemplate the future together.

Mum's books IMG_6963Mum is an avid reader. Books, the newspaper and crosswords keep her going. But I also encourage her to use her iPad and read different bits and pieces we come across – “yes, click the blue link in the tweet and a whole new world will open!”

I also encourage her to write. She has been doing quite a lot of writing recently, so when she had a strong reaction to the wonderful blog this week by Zoe Harris, that I re-blogged on Monday, I quickly brought her the trusted medium… pen and paper…

Mum writing response to Zoe Img_6252a

I have just read Zoe’s thought-provoking blog. It really rang a bell for me. I have always travelled into town on The Little Bus and have never found anything but kindness and consideration from the drivers. (Except of course the Grumpy Driver, commented on previously!)  Another bus company, which covers a greater distance, is not very helpful.

I was horrified to read that Geoff, after his horrible experience, would not travel at all on the bus and feel sure that this would not happen here. I don’t know whether the drivers have been given instruction on how to deal with people or whether they are just genuinely kind hearted.

I remember one man showing something other than his bus pass and being given help to find it in an mass of other cards!

Graphic by New Possibilities

Graphic by New Possibilities

Of course he was quite old and I wonder if the driver would have done the same for anyone, whatever their age. I feel if someone shows signs of being in distress, they would do their best to help. I recall one driver who actually got out and helped a middle-aged lady who was struggling with many parcels and bags. Unfortunately he has now retired, but he was everyone’s favourite.

 

It must be difficult for bus drivers to know how far to go to help but a little common sense and compassion go a long way.

Posted in compassion, dementia, Gill's Mum, Guest blog, mental health, personalisation, well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A simple formula with powerful consequences – by Zoe Harris

Gill Phillips - Whose Shoes?:

This is an extremely powerful post by inspirational Zoe Harris, founder and director of Care Charts UK, a social enterprise set up in the light of her late husband’s experience with dementia.

Zoe PV0_1163cI was delighted when Zoe came along to our ‘launch event’ for our series of sixteen Whose Shoes?® sessions in West Kent to build ‘dementia friendly communities’.

West Kent has been a wonderful breeding ground for people who really ‘get’ Whose Shoes?® and are keen to be part of the assets-based approach we are trying to build, raising awareness but specifically seeking to fire local people to take action and spread the fires of positive change.

As a result of this first session, Zoe became a Whose Shoes? facilitator as an extra way to channel the insight, passion and knowledge gained through her long experience of caring for Geoff. I am very honoured to be associated with Zoe and her wonderful work.

Originally posted on Eclectic Thoughts on Dementia and Other Topics:

I was honoured to be asked to facilitate one of the events being run by Age UK and Age Concern recently to promote dementia friendly communities in West Kent. This series of 16 sessions used the WhoseShoes? co-production tool to spark debates and encourage attendees to share their knowledge and experience, and think about what they might do in their community to make life easier for people living with dementia.

Having cared for my husband Geoff whilst he struggled to cope with the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease, and seen how society chose to turn its collective face away, I loved the fact that previously taboo topics were being aired, not at some theoretical or academic level, but amongst ordinary people who would leave the session and go about their daily lives with myths debunked and a fresh appreciation of how they might be able to make a positive difference.

“Add a personal story if you feel comfortable with that,” suggested Gill Philips…

View original 802 more words

Posted in Blogs, community engagement, compassion, dementia, Guest blog, health, mental health, personalisation, safeguarding, well-being | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments