In the shoes of… Helen Bate | Managing Director | Pictures to Share

For Day 11  of our series of ‘walk in my shoes’ blogposts, looking at dementia from different perspectives, we have another passionate post. Helen talks about the frustration of knowing you have a resource that can “make a difference” but struggling to get recognition. Not enough priority given to imaginative approaches!
I know the feeling…!

Banging our heads against the wall

After 6 years spent supplying the commercial dementia care industry we have learned a lot. Although there are some wonderful people working in the field, it can be a depressing place and it can sometimes feel like we’re banging our head against a brick wall in trying to improve the quality of life for their clients.

We are a successful social enterprise specializing in improving the quality of life for people with mid to late stage dementia by providing them with well-researched, accessible and beautiful picture books.  The way that the books work to improve communication and calm agitation has been proved again and again. The books provide something easy to access and enjoyable for people to do when there is nothing else available. They’re easy for carers to use with people even in the very late stages, and they can be used without help by many people in the mid stages of the illness. They’re affordable and provide something that carers and family of people with dementia are crying out for.

Some large, and usually charitable care home groups recognize the value of the books in improving the quality of life for those that they care for, and they are prepared to invest heavily in this. Public and third sector organisations such as public libraries and Alzheimer Society day centres also understand that they need good resources to help their clients. They recognize the many benefits that this type of resource can offer and provide them accordingly.

But far too many care homes still seem to be purely profit driven and real quality of life issues seem to be way down on their agenda when it comes to using their imagination or spending even modest amounts of money.

As a social enterprise it is our business to be on the side of the person with dementia – to provide them with what they need. It is extremely rewarding to work with organisations that are also on the side of the person with dementia, who are looking to give them what they need, not use them as cash cows. Sometimes it is not the cost that prevents them investing, but a lack of imagination to really understand how people with dementia who may no longer be able to read, can possibly benefit from books. Whatever their reason it is the people with dementia that are losing out again.

Helen Bate B.A.Dip.Arch.B.A.(Hons)M.A.


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, dementia, Guest blog, in my shoes, Learning and development, personalisation, social care, well-being and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to In the shoes of… Helen Bate | Managing Director | Pictures to Share

  1. Pingback: Round up of “In my shoes” – Dementia Awareness, Week 2 | Whose Shoes?

  2. The books look to be an excellent idea and I wish more people had access to them.

    On another note in your article, I am a passionate believer that care should be provided by the charitable or public / not for profit sector. This is because the organisation then exists for the benefit of the residents not the shareholders.

    I don’t blame private enterprise for wanting to be profitable. Profit is the means of survival. Enough profit is good, excessive profit and large distribution to shareholders is not the same at all. Many profitable organisations are just making enough profit to be able to safely go on delivering without fear of bankruptcy.

    Any organisation, however constituted, has to allocate budgets and make difficult choices. They often rely on outside help, fund raising & donations. This is where charitable enterprise scores. It is emotionally easier for people like me, a relative of a cared for person, to give of time and money (eg subsidise books) to a charitable organisation than a business. This is where the politicians have got it completely wrong – they really don’t *get* that people in the street (the Big Society) give to charities, not private enterprise. Inevitably charities will have more to spend on lovely books, because of this fact


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s