Ashes victory inspires thoughts about choice

It has been great to catch up on some sleep! The last few weeks have been crazy, going to bed at silly o’clock watching our England boys bring the Ashes home. As you may have gathered, I am a big cricket fan …. and cricket doesn’t get much bigger that this!

My Mum thinks I’m mad. I’m sure she’d prefer if I went to bed at a sensible time and watched the highlights the next day. But I am an adult – it is a very long time since she told me when to go to bed. I can make my own choices, even if sometimes (quite often in fact!) they are not “sensible”.

So what is the point of this story? Why should you care when I, or anybody else for that matter, go to bed?

Well, I believe strongly that EVERYONE should have choice – real choice and control over their own lives. But this is not always the case.

People who require help with social care or health needs have traditionally had to fit in with care systems, rather than the other way around. People with a disability have sometimes had to suffer the indignity of being “put to bed” at say 7.00pm because that suits their paid carers, and having to stay in bed until someone deigns to get them up in the morning.

 Now, supposing that, like me, this person were an Ashes devotee…..

I have said in previous blogs that I think “personalisation” in health and social care should no longer be a topic discussed mainly by professionals but should be brought into everyday conversations. We are all potentially affected by health and social care needs – if not us, then family members or friends.

People write screeds about personalisation and what it means. Like all “professional” topics it is often over-complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. Personalisation is fitting care and support around the person. It is finding imaginative ways to give people real choice, not just relying on professional resources but using all available resources. It is letting others choose what they want in the same way as you can choose what you want!

When people talk about choice, they often talk about the big things – being able to make key decisions – where to live, who to live with, educational opportunities, employment etc. However, day-to-day choices are equally important. They are fundamental to being in control of our lives, having a good quality of life and being able to pursue our unique mix of aspirations and passions.

So let’s think outside the box…..

If people rely on care agencies, the workers will generally have set hours (say 7-11pm) and thus can enable one or two “night owls” to go to bed towards 11pm… but it sounds as though someone is still going to bed at 7.00pm.  Hmmm….

If someone has a personal budget, they can employ a personal assistant. They can employ someone who keeps to the same “clock” as they do, or perhaps “share” a PA with a friend and arrange things between them.

If someone has a personal budget, they might also be enabled to perhaps get involved with a local cricket club rather than say going to the local day centre, using the money to pay for a taxi to get there. They might meet other cricket-mad people and say find a friend who would come round and watch the Ashes with them and help them to bed … or even stay up and party all night…. after all, we haven’t won the Ashes in Australia for 24 years…!

This is just a hint of the possibilities….obviously lots of things to “think through” and all the safeguarding caveats… but in principle enabling, liberating, and promoting independence.

This playing card is probably the “simplest” message in my Whose Shoes? board game but potentially one of the most powerful.

Would you like someone else to choose when you go to bed?



Extract from ©Poet’s Corner – Whose Shoes? – Putting People First


About Gill Phillips - Whose Shoes?

Passionate about personalisation in health & social care. Creator of Whose Shoes? - an imaginative approach to helping people work together to improve lives.
This entry was posted in Blogs, health, Learning and development, personalisation, social care and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Ashes victory inspires thoughts about choice

  1. Pamela Luckock says:

    Hi Gill, great post! and I so agree with you. Pam


  2. Great quote: “EVERYONE should have choice – real choice and control over their own lives. But this is not always the case.”



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