A talk to Adult social care staff plus Talking Heads for the Ministry of Justice…..

Bet you’re wondering what on earth I’m going to write 🤣

Well in case you hadn’t been aware, this week is Dementia Awareness Week….I used to make a big thing of it, naively thinking massive changes would occur because of it….. but now it’s become tiring as dementia isn’t just for a week it’s now for life. Once the week is over, dementia gets a back seat again and rarely does it make any difference. However, I’m always kept busy with offers of talks and have been booked up for months…..

So Monday morning of this hectic week was taken up by a talk to North Yorkshire County Council staff during their Festival of Practice. Adult Social Care staff would be the main attendees. The person that contacted me, Tamar Goudie, had apparently met me 5 years ago when I spoke to student nurses…😳…she’s now a practice development person for North Yorkshire Adult social care staff.

The Festival of Practice is a month-long digital event where we host a number of talks and webinars on a variety of relevant topics in adult social care.” So I suppose I fit in nicely into Dementia Awareness week…..

The lovely smiley Tamar and Cara greeted me on screen a few minutes before just so I knew their faces and for them to ask if I needed anything. Then staff from all over the area from all disciplines began to join, from Occupational Therapists, to social workers, care staff, learning disabilities and many more.

They gave me an hour to talk, but I always leave 10-15 minutes for questions at the end. The social care world is very underrated, underpaid and understaffed. Near the end of my talk I said…

“Yes it is a daunting job to transform social care, but then surely it was a daunting job to create the NHS in the first place, but it happened.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if social care was a job of choice, with recognition, status, and a value placed on the skills of the staff?”

I always end on a reading and for this one it was ‘the gift’ of dementia which I love reading. It was so wonderful to have so many disciplines from Adult social care on one screen. Apparently there were over 100 and at the very end they all opened their screens so I could see them and wave goodbye, which felt very special….

My next talk was in the afternoon with staff from the Ministry of Justice…..so a very different audience which I love. But a short walk was in order first to recover from the morning session

A host of sparrows were hovering over the seed heads below….

Although they’re only on screen, they really are equally exhausting as face to face which involves travelling and a longer time period.

Anyway…I was contacted by Darren Fearnley, who along with his job there is also the Carers Network Lead for the Ministry. (Nice to know they have one!)

They have been running a series of ‘Talking Heads’….according to Darren, a bit like the adorable multi talented playwrite Alan Bennett series on TV. I was hooked on that series. The one I remember most is the 1987 late Thora Hird’s appearance in ‘A Cream Cracker under the Sofa’…it was so memorably moving. I love all Alan Bennett’s work 🥰

Alan Bennett is also a Yorkshireman so what’s not to like about this gentle character. I must have watched all his work at various points in my life 🥰 and it’s made me think I should watch them again…

The series of talks at the Ministry of Justice have been run along the lines of The Human Library, having people, who staff may be prejudiced against, or know very little, speak to them, telling them about their lives. I love the concept of the Human Library for reducing stigma against so many groups. So often when you talk to people as human beings, all pre conceived ideas melt away and what you see before you is just that – another human being.

So hats off to the Ministry of Justice and Darren in particular for attempting to reduce bias against certain groups in society. So that’s where I fitted in. Wanting to reduce the stigma and change the associations they may have of people living with dementia…….

It seemed to go well once more. No faces revealed this time apart from Darren, but I suppose Ministry of Justice has stricter protocol for on line talks 🤔

I’d aimed to talk as a more gentle meander through dementia as I really couldn’t imagine how much the audience would know. But one question at the end was asking the difference between Alzheimers and dementia, which I’m always happy to answer as it confuses so many.

Dementia is the umbrella term for all dementias, Alzheimers being just one and the most common but there are over 100 different types and it’s my belief that clinicians have yet to discover many more. Even though I’m diagnosed with mixed dementia, Alzheimers and Vascular, I believe I have traits from other types as well – sooo little is known about the brain compared to any other part of the body”

I’d forgotten how tiring I find two on lines in the same day. I felt wiped out half way through and remember at one stage having difficulty finding my words which weren’t on the paper – serves me right for going off piste 🤣…..

Darren finished the session off by asking them to put to one side their own stereotypical image, the image of someone with dementia as being old, sat in a care home watching telly and instead think of me wing walking……loved that ending

About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

15 thoughts on “A talk to Adult social care staff plus Talking Heads for the Ministry of Justice…..

  1. Did you get told where your Alzheimer’s plaques and tangles are located in your brain? We were told they were in the fronto-temporal region of my Mum’s brain (with ischaemic areas elsewhere giving rise to the vascular part of her mixed diagnosis) I found it so helpful to know this as my Mum’s dementia didn’t seem to start in any of the most well known ways and it is much easier to be understanding of some of the trickiest aspects.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dear Wendy, thanks again especially for the explanation about the difference between Alzheimers and dementia – I DO learn something every day. I loved the Thora Hird’s ‘A Cream Cracker under the Sofa’, and remember it well. Like you, I love all Alan’s work. I seem to remember Thora did the whole scene in one go, which was utterly remarkable. Hugs x

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Dear Wendy, me too am a fan of Alan Bennett! Read most of his books and enjoyed it so much! Saw the movie THE WOMAN IN THE VAN. That was a great movie, with the adorable Maggie Smith. Thanks for reminding me of that and be well!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post, Wendy. Change is made one presentation at a time, which is very frustrating, but it is reality. I’ve been told (reassured?) more than once, change happens in baby steps to which i say, the people in my support and I don’t have time for baby steps! Stay safe, Wendy, and thank you from Canada.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you Wendy for another interesting and informative read.
    I love Alan Bennett and his brilliant work too. Also, fond memories of Thora Hird, what a lovely lady and actress she was.
    Take care Wendy xx

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wendy, although as Jim says, ‘change is made one presentation at a time’, you alone are making so many changes, and your words spread to others, who may then pass what they’ve heard on to even more people. And how fantastic that the final speaker encouraged his listeners to think of you wing walking! I just hope you’ve recovered from all that by now.

    These special weeks (I think there are several of these every week!) do seem a bit pointless but they are a good opportunity to make people think.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you once again Wendy for todays wee chat…when I read your blog it just feels like your and I are sitting here beside each other….I to was pleased to read your description of the dementia vers Alzheimer’s ….just as a few others have been….I’m only 77 and often feel that I may have dementia but then tell myself not to be daft it’s just my age ! And who care if I can’t remember names…I never have, so it’s not really new…do I remember our stupid prime ministers name…well sometimes other times no ….I’ve gone of on a tangent why did that happen ?!! I’ve no idea, but I’m not going to worry about it. I’ll just say a big Thank You for all you do….God Bless. Xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that’s been the big message of the special week, that if something like this is happening, it’s not ‘just your age’ and worth getting it checked out. Even if it is dementia it is so much easier to manage if you know sooner rather than later.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Wendy
    Just to reassure you that your work is VERY valuable, and not ignored. I attended a Zoom , organised by a church group, about Dementia awareness as my Mum has it. It was good, and a number of attendees had read your 1st book. I was able to recommend your 2nd one and pass on some useful advice.So your advice is filtering through to many people. We have all learned SO much, thanks to you. Keep up the good work, Wendy. You are doing a marvellous job!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. “Darren finished the session off by asking them to put to one side their own stereotypical image . . . of someone with dementia as being old, sat in a care home watching telly and instead think of me wing walking.” Works for me, and is a great summary for your books and mission! I’ll be using that one. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.