It is pretty cool when you can tell your grown-up children something concerning new technology and they don’t know what you mean.
So I did feel a tad smug when I returned home from NHS Expo and announced that I had done a ‘Google Hangout’ ;-)
We are proud to be part of the ‘Grassroots movement for change’
As you will gather from Joe McCrea’s lovely comments on the live video, (a.k.a. Google hangout), I am a huge supporter of NHS Change Day so it was very exciting to see Helen Bevan and many of the team ‘making it real’ at Expo. I was disappointed that Kirsty Baxter, the NHS Change Day Support person for Kent, Surrey and Sussex, wasn’t able to be there. So I will take this opportunity to thank her for her help in linking people into our forthcoming Whose Shoes? project to promote dementia friendly communities in Kent!
Our pledge is that “We will take every opportunity to raise awareness of the reality of living with dementia & get people working together for inclusive dementia-friendly communities.” It is an ambitious global pledge, building on my recent Whose Shoes? tour of Australia with my wonderful friend, Kate Swaffer who lives with younger onset dementia and is Chair of the Australian Advisory Group.
But our global pledge is about lots and lots of small steps and connections. Each one will make a difference.
Together they will make a BIG difference. One starfish at a time.
So one small step, but for me very emotional and significant, was introducing Ken Howard to Chris Roberts.
Two men with younger onset dementia, but also with much in common as human beings and therefore the potential to become real friends, not least with a shared passion for motor bikes. When I first met Ken, he told me he had not met other people of his own age with dementia – well now he has.
And helping them have a voice. Chris writes his own blog but also recently wrote an ‘in my shoes’ blog; Ken’s blog last week, with his twelve ‘coping strategies‘ for living well with dementia has been similarly popular.
After the College of Medicine Summer School, I helped Ken get up and going with Twitter. I wondered how he would get on with it and even if I was doing the right thing, as he struggles with reading and writing. But the ‘bite sized nature of tweets seems to work well for Ken.
It is great to see more and more people joining our pledge and I hope that these blogs will encourage lots more people to ‘like’ or join. All you have to do is click on the link. And then ‘think dementia’ as you go about your everyday life.
We are trying to draw in people who don’t normally think about dementia so it is wonderful to get tweets like this. Many of you will know Gillian Cross, an old friend of mine, through her ‘Demon Headmaster’ fame (as well as many other wonderful children’s books).
Poor Dorothy was in for a shock as she entered my rather random, wonderful world of
tweet-ups, near tweet-ups, emotional monkeys, encouragement, love and pure fun!
And a sneaky one from last week. Because Annie Cooper @AnnieCoops is very special and I haven’t yet got around to blogging about the fab Florence Nightingale conference.;-)
And I nearly forgot to say, that amidst all the fun and connecting, we ran a Whose Shoes? session in the Dementia Café.
Ken sat on the same table as Becky Malby and immediately she was listening to Ken’s key messages. But, informally, through a ‘game’ which means that people can talk together naturally as equals. The fact that one happens to be the Director of the Centre for Innovation in Health Management is not necessarily known or noticed – except perhaps in the positive outcomes ;-).
And then it is easy to crank up the key messages and widen the debate through Twitter:
I asked Dr Martin Brunet to post his comment on Ken’s blog to encourage him. And he did – because these wonderful ‘Grassroots GPs’, who are very supportive of my work, really really care. :)
Hopefully, Ken and I (and others – because it is all about connecting people) will get a chance to explore some of these ideas further and people will experience the power (and fun too!) of designing services WITH people rather than for people.
And I was REALLY sorry that our session clashed with the Kate Granger awards in the main hall.
And I was thrilled to get the chance to say “Hello my name is Gill…” ;-)
Another person I was sorry not to see was Anna Hepburn, Digital Communication Manager from the Department of Health.
But Anna posted this fab tweet providing access to all the dementia links she has ever posted. Click on this link for a treasure chest of material!
And all too soon it was over.
Yes, we enjoyed NHS Expo!
We are still buzzing from a great event and meeting, as always, such wonderful people making a difference. I would like to pay a special tribute to Dorothy Hall. She is a real star and it has been lovely watching her blossom, moving out of the confines of senior management in local government and getting involved in areas (including supporting me – hugely!) where she can ‘be herself’. She is a wonderful Whose Shoes? facilitator. I think she found the ‘tweetathon’ at Expo quite an eye opener. We never walked more than about 100 yards without meeting ‘tweeps.’ The Twitter web lured some really interesting people to our workshop. :)
But I can honestly say that the real highlight for me was seeing the warm connection between Ken Howard and Chris Roberts – brought together via tweeting, blogging and the Whose Shoes? workshop – and the potential for enriching so many lives by similar connections. We all try so hard but it is deeply rewarding when you can put your hand on something really tangible that makes a difference. I think this link will be a bit ‘life-changing for both of them. It was lovely to meet Chris’s wife Jayne too, devoted to her husband who, to the outside world looks fine but at the age of 52 can never leave the house alone because he cannot cross the road safely. Big stuff indeed. I was very honoured to get to know them. Everyone’s story is different. There is so much to learn and so much potential to help people enjoy a better quality of life!
I hope you enjoy the slideshow – a taste of NHS Expo 2014 (in MY shoes!)