Imaginary friends? Hardly! #dementiachallengers linking across the world

Have you ever met up with someone you know really, really well, but yet have never met before?

Global #dementiachallengers :)

Global #dementiachallengers 🙂

I guess these days with social media and particularly Skype, this is becoming a far more common experience but I find it VERY exciting. Mr Whose Shoes? finds it rather strange.

I was meeting up with two people at the very top of my ‘stalking list’ (and others whom I already know) – people I meet on Twitter and really want to meet!
What with #KentDigicare and Whose Shoes?, Coventry, and the lovely Anna Hepburn, Digital Communications Manager for Social Care, Department of Health, I have done rather well recently!

Kate Swaffer said she was coming over from Australia to England and would like to meet me and Beth Britton (@bethyb1886), both long-term followers of her blog.  In the (near) words of a well known song… ♩♫♪ It started with a tweet… ♩♫♪ I never thought we would actually meet…  Kate’s tweets are protected so I will not include them.

The main connection has been through our blogs. Kate is living with young onset dementia and writes a wonderful blog (usually daily) charting her experiences. She writes with humour, honesty, poignancy and powerful humanity.

Kate didn’t use Twitter much at all when I first ‘met’ her. This was how she first got involved.

And now a very big part of Kate’s Twitter life is to keep in touch with our #dementiachallengers here in England.

And so it was clearly very important to link her up with Lee (@dragonmisery) and her amazing website.

And the plan started to take shape, delayed for a short time because Kate got invited to give an important talk in Canberra. The voices of people living with dementia are starting to be listened to world-wide – and not before time.

Meanwhile, there was another dementia guru with a very different (academic) background, at the top of my stalking list – the intriguing Dr Shibley Rahman. Shibs (as I affectionately call him) and I have Skyped, which is the next best thing to meeting up, but we were both keen to meet face-to-face.

I thought it would be excellent to invite Shibley along to our meet-up with Kate. After all, Shibley is about to publish (in Australia!) a global book on living well with dementia, so what could be more important or appropriate? Soon Beth was booking a table at Tas in London, under the name of #dementiachallengers!

So before you could say “#dementiachallengers”, Shibs was fired up for it too!

Firstly, I met up with Shibley to show him Whose Shoes?

It was exciting. Shibley has always been a BIG fan of Whose Shoes?, and both the tools and this blog series are featured in his forthcoming book – I am very honoured! However, Shibley’s eyes lit up like saucers when he saw the ‘path to personalisation’ included in the electronic version. The holistic approach was in perfect harmony with the ‘see the whole person’ approach to well-being at the heart of Shibley’s book, so some last minute tweaks to  the manuscript were planned. You will have to wait until it is published to find out exactly what we worked out in that hour’s ‘pre-meeting’ in London. 🙂

And we have since worked out how to make this happen

Meanwhile, my ‘yes-I-do-exist’ credentials were confirmed to allay Kate’s fears

Unfortunately, Lee had not been able to come so we had a fairly chaotic Skype session
As ‘Head Girl’ (thank you Sarah Reed!) I had been given the task of arranging the Skype Up with Lee

All would apparently be quiet at Lee’s end…

But it was ♩♫♪  *ChAoS* ⊙.◎ at our end 😉

As we passed my phone round, we could see Lee’s picture but there was so much background noise in the restaurant we couldn’t hear a thing. Apparently, the filming wasn’t too great either! 🙂

We also had a laugh with others who were watching from a distance

And we all took photos… and got the waiters to take photos

And, all too soon it was over

And, significantly,  Kate reported, “Very happy to confirm lunch today was not with aliens.. Lovely to meet you all, Skype inc.”

But the energy had travelled far and wide

AND, indeed, our #dementiachallengers message was spreading:

And then – a tweet I absolutely LOVED from Helen Bevan
Apparently I am the “Lois Weisburg of Coventry!”
Take a look at the amazing story in this link.;)

And the connections afterwards are extra special.
Because now we KNOW each other:)

And a BIG dementia carers tweet-up is now shaping up for January

And Kate often writes a Saturday poem…
And this week it was about … you guessed it… her imaginary friends.
You can read it here
– and I strongly recommend that, while visiting, you subscribe to Kate’s wonderful blog. You will learn so much.

And on Thursday, I will post a poem I have written
in response to my friend Kate

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, education, in my shoes, social media, TLAP - Making It Real, well-being and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Imaginary friends? Hardly! #dementiachallengers linking across the world

  1. Kate Swaffer says:

    Such a wonderful blog post Mrs Whose Shoes… My fab imaginary friend!! Feel free to add my tweets, of which I had no idea they were protected, whatever that means!!?? I must also report I am still feeling all the love from our Sunday together, and look forward to our next tweet, Skype and meet get together. With love from your Aussie friend xox


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