A break from the dementia series today just to reflect on and share a few exciting developments over the last few days…
Firstly, my thanks to Martin Routledge. I really enjoyed the personalisation party up in Manchester. Such a good idea to get lots of people together who are passionate about personalisation – a chance to network and have a bit of fun, helping to keep spirits up in these difficult times where the way ahead is often far from clear… I particularly enjoyed catching up with my pals Ali Gardner and Ken Stapleton, as I didn’t know they were going, but it was great to meet lots of new people too. Mr Whose Shoes? came along and it was nice for him to meet some of the people I talk about… a lot! I keep mentioning this annual event to new people, so next year the guest list might be a little bit longer again, as the network grows! This Whose Shoes? video, which was also filmed in Manchester, features both Ali and Ken who have been Whose Shoes? champions from Day 1.
I won’t mention taking Mum out for a lovely afternoon tea on what would have been my Dad’s birhday on Monday. Nor the T20 match at Edgbaston on Tuesday night, where Warwickshire beat Northants in an exciting finish, nor my son Alex playing for Somerset 2nd X1. This is a professional blog and not about family or cricket at all…
On Wednesday, we had a lively Whose Shoes? session with the Think Local, Act Personal (TLAP) National Co-production Advisory Group, as part of their Awayday in Birmingham. Lots of ideas and feedback about the emerging electronic tool that we are developing in partnership to help people tease through their local priorities in Making It Real. It is very interesting to see how different groups engage with Whose Shoes? and which cards prompt the best discussions and harness the group’s enthusiasm and creativity … or challenge assumptions! We had a very good discussion around ‘prevention’ – it means very different things to different people – and is it even relevant to everyone? Dorothy Hall helped facilitate and Anna Geyer from New Possibilities recorded the issues as they were discussed, which always provides a great permanent record to aid follow up.
On Thursday, I was interviewed for an in-depth case study for Skills for Care. The copywriter wanted to know about our “Meet the Dragons – Thinking outside the box” award and the fab project Barbara Dalby and Sharon Terry ran up in Yorkshire and Humber – people who use services and carers leading their own Whose Shoes? workshops for other people in similar circumstances – a great example of peer support. Skills for Care are using Whose Shoes? for the induction of their own staff, so that was mentioned too. It was great that the “interviewer” really “got” the concept and we ended up talking for ages, with a very wide-ranging discussion, so I am looking forward to seeing the outcome. Inevitably, Whose Shoes? didn’t fit neatly into the “evidence” boxes she was required to report against – it never does! I’m sorry, I can’t give a figure for how many people were prevented from being admitted to hospital because of Whose Shoes? But hopefully, if good practice is shared and disseminated and people are challenged to think differently and work together more effectively, then somebody will be!
I also took part in a live Guardian on-line discussion about older people. I was invited to be on the panel, although my “bio” went astray so I am not yet “listed”. D’oh! These on-line discussions are very fast-paced. It is all a bit “two Ronnies” as people answer the question before last (some of you must remember that sketch?). In any case everyone is encouraged to have their say! I really enjoyed the discussion and was surprised how much I had to say – in fact the two hours flew and we only really seemed to scratch the surface; valuing older people and helping them (us?! – we are all “older” than someone!) enjoy real quality of life is a huge issue in our society.
On Friday, Jaimee Lewis, Communications Adviser to the Personalisation Programme at TLAP, popped up and said they were planning to use my Whose Shoes? story, submitted recently, for their regular Friday guest blog. I was very honoured to be included as I know they have lots of great contributors. Please do post comments!
And today (Monday) I will be down in London for a book launch with a difference… The difference is that I have a Whose Shoes? chapter in the book, which is very exciting!- see P34. I am very grateful to Elke Loeffler, CEO of Governance International, for her strong support of Whose Shoes? as a co-production tool and for inviting me to write a chapter for the book, helped hugely by their talented young project manager, Frankie Hine-Hughes.
As usual, I am networking like mad and have arranged to meet up with a few people at the book launch, including a new person whom I have only met on “Twitter”. She works for Community Catalysts so, by definition, is someone passionate and keen to make a real difference in health and social care. I will then go to the British Library and do some research about a couple of things that are on my mind. I love it there – I guess as a Latin scholar (going back to my radices) I still have the need to soak up a bit of academia from time to time. Special thanks to Sue Scott-Horne for helping me sign up!
Meanwhile, the “in my shoes”dementia series continues tomorrow, with some very practical information about nutrition and malnutrition screening. Please keep up the great tweeting to help raise awareness of the many, many facets of dementia and dementia care – I might share some of the best tweets at some stage…
Well, that’s a little self-indulgence from me… walking in my shoes for a week as I spread the word about the Whose Shoes? concept and meet such wonderful people!