Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust add personal pledges



Thank you to Jo Tonkin and Nick Hulme CEO of Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals.  Catherine Morgan, Director of Nursing and Quality, Debs Smith, Mark Prentice and all the wonderful staff and people from across the area who attended the 3 talks.

Tommy met Jo and Dr Barbara Stuttle the previous Director of Nursing now retired at a conference last year and they kindly invited us to the trust to share our Make a Difference Campaign.

2 3

The day was truly inspiring and we are looking forward to returning later this year for more talks and to launch Colchester pledge trees.

Thank you for making Tommy feel welcome and for the wonderful pledges

Team #DCV

I pledge to listen first and do all I can in my role to support the staff in the hospital to support and care and not to forget what matters to people

Catherine Morgan

Director of nursing


I pledge to give people the time they deserve and be the kind human, understanding, listening ear.

Nieda Frost

Occupational Therapist


I pledge to continue to see the person and not the dementia when I look after people, I will continue to promote caring for the person not the bed space

A Elliott

Project nurse with palliative team.


I pledge to give better services for patients and carers, commission and compassion and thought and kindness.

Paul Rogers.

NEE CCG Mental health commissioning


I pledge to listen to my patient’s and hear their story.

Katie Worby.

Palliative care nurse specialist


I pledge to make sure I am kind and understanding towards the patient and family members, I pledge to always remember that they had a life before the disease and to treat them as I would any other patients…what matters to them

Adele Poole

Physiotherapy assistant


I pledge to always find out about people and learn something about their story




I pledge to find out what and who matters to people

Rebecca I.

Clinical specialist physiotherapist for older people


I pledge to find out the little things that matter and make sure they are addressed with as much importance as the big thing.

Katie Southgate



I pledge to be a caring hand, a kind heart, a listening ear and understanding to explain my role and my aims for my patients, for their best interest.

Bethany Irwin



I pledge to make a difference to at least one patients every day for as long as I continue to nurse

Jenny Herbert

Ward sister


I pledge to find out more about patients’ lives and what they did, speaking to family and carers

Aimee P.

Physiotherapy Assistant


I pledge to always understand the patient, carers, needs and what they must be going through.

Josh Hull

Physio Assistant


I pledge to ask every person what matter to you and how can help

Kimberlwy Rice



I pledge to ask myself after every visit, what would tommy or Joan say about my visit today?

Lindsay Dyble

Occupational therapist,


I pledge to try and make a difference to people who read the help I can provide, if I can make even the smallest difference it will make my job worthwhile, life is for living, part of my role is to help people live

Anne P

O.T St Helena Hospice.


I pledge to be the best that I can be and follow in the footsteps of some of the amazing O.T, that I have shadowed during my training

Charlotte ward



I pledge to look past the dementia and see the beautiful person and their life past and present and to continue to support families and carers.


Registered nurse


I pledge to ensure patients I care for, are treated as individuals not conditions.

Ian Bryang

Specialist physio assistant.


I pledge to take time to listen to my patients, becoming aware that every patient has their own story and walk their journey with them

Debbie Vincent

Register nurse


I pledge to listen to each and every patient and get know them and what they like to be a friend.


I pledge to really listen to people, their families, their carers, and their important people. To help them not to feel scared or confused, to help them access help that they deserve.

Stephanie Baker

Learning disabilities hospital liaison nurse specialist, Colchester General Hospital


I pledge to never walk and always try and make a difference, however small.

Shelley Myall

Occupational therapy assistant


I pledge to find out who the person is and look out the person holistically instead of just looking at the condition.

Maxine Farly

Learning disabilities student nurse,


I pledge to treat everyone I meet with the respect and dignity I would like to be treated with/ would like my family to have. Find out about background and personalities, be kind.

Aislinn D

Student dietitian


I pledge to work to enable equality in end of life came for those with dementia in our area

Dr. Karen

Clinical director ST Helena Hospice.


I pledge to always think of a patient as an individual and treat them in a completely good way, putting their needs first not just what I thing is the best idea for them but what they think or their friends, family think.

Rosie H

Student dietitian


I pledge to support the best I can, dementia patients and their carers with end of life care needs.

Laura Shukla

St Helena Hospice.


I pledge to think more of what is happening in people’s lives and not judge, be as kind as I can.

Michele Steel.



I pledge to always show compassion, kindness to the patients I care for, and try to find out more of their story.

Cathy Turton



I pledge to listen more to patient and carer, to find more about them and not just why there in hospital for, and hopefully bring a smile to their day.


I pledge to be a voice to those who are struggling to find a voice of their own

Jo Jerrom

Maternity lead


I pledge to treat everyone as I would like my loved ones to be treated.

Vanessa McLeen

Dementia care nurse specialist



I pledge to remember to care for the person, not a condition or bed space, I will be kind and show open honest body language

Paul Yallop RN



I pledge to take the time to ask and listen to the answer.

Sarah Fisher

Advanced nurse practitioner.


I pledge to lisent to everyone, and talk to everyone, no person is the same, I take time to know that person

K. Sewell



I pledge to always ask what matters to you.

Maisey Dear

Dementia Care nurse specialist


I pledge to listen and try to understand everybody story

Amie L.

Senior physio.


I pledge to offer an ear a shoulder and a hand to hold when someone needs me to

Danielly king.

Physio assistant


I pledge to always listen to always be kind.

Elizabeth Kapcia


I pledge to share the principles of what matters and promote care of the person to spread smiles that are created through that purpose

Lisa Pynter

Lead for safeguard


I pledge to ensure I take the time to ask the question what matters to you, or your family member, so that the individual gets personal care and support.

Marinne B.

Speech, language therapist.


I pledge to listen to all patients and do all that I can to help and support them in any way that I can, to make all care personalised to the patients and what is important to them

Amanda Amey.



I pledge to ask all people, clients, patients, that I come in to contact with them. I will ask what and who matters to you, and will listen and do my best to help that person going towards.

Kate F.

RGN SPOHN health and wellbeing


I pledge to always to respect my patient’s decisions and to always treat them as their own person

Pui-San Morgans.

Rehabilitations assistant/ student nurse


I pledge to be kind and respectful and give dignity to the older person, see beyond the person in front of you, let them talk to their past as it means a lot to them


Retired nurse


I pledge to make each day count, provide quality care and make a difference.

Elizabeth Davies.

Student nurse



Posted in Events

Missing Me

Today we bring to you a poem from Tracey Shorthouse called Missing Me.  You can follow Tracey`s story via @TraceyShorty28 and find out more over on her blog.

Thank you Tracey for letting us share you inspiring words.



Missing Me

Sometimes I miss me, the old me
The girl who liked to go dancing
Now the music seems too loud
I used to spin around with glee
But at least I still love laughing
But I don’t like to be part of the crowd

At times, the noise is too much for me to cope with
Like angry bees stuck in my head, buzzing constantly
I miss going out and about, being part of the crew
But at least I still believe in magic, spirit and myth
And I still believe in honestly
But sometimes I still get blue

I miss driving around, going to different places
And sometimes I do miss work, hard to believe
And I do miss my memory at times
But I still remember some faces
And it’s not like me to grieve and grieve
Although my tastes have changed, I still like my limes

I miss watching the dramas, but get lost easily
Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell fiction from reality
Then I get scared which was never like me
But at least I live peacefully
And will always be free
And I am lucky that I live between the countryside and sea

I loved how I could see the changes of the seasons when out and about
And how the skies change depending on the weather
That was the best thing about being a community nurse
At least, not working means that there is no one left to shout
But who cares as long as we are together
And I am determined that the dementia will not get worse

As friends and family, we have each other’s back
Although it is also nice to be that someone’s special
Someone to see beyond and just see me
It’s nice to be alone, but also nice to be part of a pack
But I also don’t want to meet a devil
And I don’t want to be seen to flee

I don’t like the fact that I get tired
Or that my speech gets slurred
Or that I have to walk with a stick sometimes
It seems mad that I am admired
By some, my vision sometimes gets blurred
But now I have retired I now write rhymes

But on the upside, I am still able to walk
I still garden and explore different areas
By using public transport
Sometimes I have to steed myself as want to balk
But I try not to take myself too serious
And occasionally I still allow myself a glass of port

So although I do miss the old me
I am getting used to this new person
I am still positive and full of beans
And can still make the odd stew
And I quite like this new version
Of me and my family genes

Posted in 'Viewpoint' Blog Posts

Pledges at Northern Devon Healthcare Trust


Friday 10 February saw our Project Engagement Lead, Tommy Whitelaw visit Northern Devon Healthcare Trust to speak to Trainee Nursing Associates, Senior Nurses, Trainee Assistant Practitioners, Healthcare Assistants, Apprentices, Staff Nurses, Doctors and Clinical Tutors from across the Trust.

Special thanks to Carly Huish ,Project Lead for the Trainee Nurse Associates, Shaun Kershaw Course Tutor and Andrea Bell Assistant Director of Nursing Northern Devon Healthcare for inviting Tommy.


Tommy says…

“The day was truly inspiring getting to meet everyone along with a tour of the wards to meet the dedicated staff working hard to make a difference for people”

Take a look at the short film of the North Devon pledge tree launch

Thank you all for the great kindness, shown on the day and wonderful pledge below.

Team DCV

I pledge to listen, care, support and make feel safe and help.

Lisa Snell



I pledge to be kind every day to call people, patients by name and ask them who and what matter to them.

Julia F

Clinical Trust. NDHT


I pledge to ask people what is important to them and to find out about their story to enable them to feel they can make it through an after day after that.


Apprentice healthcare assistant


I pledge to ensure I am there for each individual and provide them with support and make a difference

Katie Maddox

Apprentice healthcare assistant


I pledge to take the time to learn some ones’ story and integrate it into the care I give them. Also, to give care as much as I can for as long as I can.


Apprentice healthcare assistant


I pledge to always hold your hand, continue to listen, see, hear, give time and resume

Tracey Chilingworth

Trainee assistant apprentice


I pledge to do my best to make every patient day that best day that will be.




I pledge to support my patients more in her journey and story. Take time to ask and listen to what others say, treat everyone with kindness and think about the language I use.

Donna Knight

Int. Divisional nurse


I pledge to listen to the small thing that matter

Demy Jackman



I pledge to make people smile each day simple but effective “a smile a day keeps the fears away”

Hazel thornton

Staff nurse


I pledge to see how I can make a difference to the patients and carers, no matter how big or small

Sarah Paterson

Staff nurse


I pledge to take time to ask patients about their stories.

Sophie Evangelista.

Apprentice healthcare assistant.


I pledge to listen to everyone story and care for each person as if they were my mum.


Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to try and put a smile on as many people faces as possible

Emily R

HCA Apprentice.


I pledge to see the person not just a patient.


I pledge to listen to my patient and their families also I pledge to do my very best to care from people that need help and support.


Trainee Nursing Associate


I pledge to listen, take time and hold the hand of my patients, radiate my inner beauty for sharing love, kindness and compassion.


Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to listen to the patients and meeting their needs.


Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to think of patients by their names, stories first and before their illness

Leanne Richards

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to be the carer that patients can feel, they can rely on and I will always be there for whatever


I pledge to take the time to listen, to ask what matters and do what matters to the person and carers living with dementia

Dawn McMullan

Healthcare assistant.


I pledge to continue to respect people I care for and work with, make more time to understand their story.


I pledge to continue to respect and care for my patients and their relatives’ carers as individuals and to always be as kind as I can possible be.


Trainee Assistant practitioner


I pledge to make time to talk, ask question and listen. No matters what time constraints surround my role. I want to make a difference to someone’s live

Kirsty Spry

Trainee nursing associate.


I pledge to stop and listen, just get it done, no matter what.

Helen McKenzie

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to always take the time to get to know my patients, also their families’ or carers’, to do my upmost to listen and care in the best possible way I can

Charlene Robert

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to always give extra time and compassion to dementia patients.

Emma G

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to have more time to listen to lives of patients, their past, relationship, worries and stories.

Sue A.

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to get to know the patient I am caring for, ask their story and educate others to ask who and what matters to the patients. To carry on holding my patients hand when they are scared and alone

Natalie Thomas

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to appreciate each patients’ story and to embrace this into their life as a patient and to encourage others to also do this.

Katie Hopkins.

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to continue to listen to my patients and enjoy their stories with them anytime.

Anne Brice

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to encourage and uphold carers and patients dealing with dementia.

Naomi T,

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to continue to ask patients about their relationships and continue to demonstrate kindness and understanding.

Harriet Clarke

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to know some ones’ story and to remind them that their story is important whatever they are.

Nicola Smith.

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to continue to try to make any one suffering with dementia to feel safe, to hold their hand when they are scared and try to make a positive difference to their day, and to smile any family member a hug, it is always needed

Lauren P

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to try and find out their interests and values to enable my patients and their families feel safe and secure in my care

Stacey Mccabe

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to take time to sit and to talk to my patients and learn about who they are, where they come from

Katie Jenkins.

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to listen to every patient and make a difference to their day.

Clare Downing

Ophthalmic clinical nurse specialist


I pledge to always treat people who I would want my family to be treated, to see the person behind the disease, to show kindness compassion, respect and dignity and to also treat family of those patients in the same manner.

Nikky Durham

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to listen more, try to spend more time with people

Tracy Hancuch


I pledge to be kind to everyone I meet


Divisional nurse


I pledge to be an advocate and a voice to those who do not can do it for themselves to my beautiful grandma and my patients, I will hold your hands when you are scared.

A Alsaffar



I pledge to make sure I get to know and understand the person I am caring for, to encourage them to do as much for themselves as possible till they are unable to. Like my own family.

Anne Tyler



I pledge to give my patients and families the time and listen

Steve Parson

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to be kind and listen to find out people’s story.

Kirsty Graham



I pledge to educated everyone to see the person not the diagnosis. Any diagnosis.


I pledge to always see the person and make sure that they matter.

Anne Marie

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to always be kind no matter what time constraints or pressure I may be under


Project lead nurse associate


I pledge to never forget how kindness and being kind to other in my work, my life and always can I make a huge difference to a person

Helena O’toole

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to make more time to listen to people.

Andy Parry

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to be the person I am and to be the nurse and the kind caring person I have grown into and make a difference to others

Sean Phillips

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to take the time to listen and understand what really matters to my patients, to be a small piece of their incredible journey

Thomas W.

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to listen and understand to patients and their families and advocated for them and help to be their voice.

Kate Parsley

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to remember every patient is some one’s mother or father, and to find the time to show them all the greatest kindness.



I pledge to ensure I take time to know my personal lever to give them the best care and to keep smiling

Stephanee Ring.

Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to have more time with patients and their families, and provide them with the care they deserve, make them feel valued, important, safe and feel line on individual and not someone with on illness or someone who is unwell


Trainee nursing associate


I pledge to have the kindness to care for everyone I meet, and the courage to challenge those who do not.

Rebecca Evans

Student nurse


I pledge to be empowering and make a difference that will impact on some ones life for the better

Linda Quinn

1st year student nurse


I pledge to be kind and compassionate and listen to who my patients are and their needs.




I pledge to ensure I listen more embracing my patients stories with the individuality they deserve to make my patients, carers, family, friends my priority.

Rebecca Jones

Trainee nursing associate


Posted in "You Can Make a Difference" Pledges

UCLAN Nursing Students 2017 pledge to make a difference


Thank you to our wonderful Friend Eve Potts, Senior Lecturer, at the University of Central Lancashire for inviting Tommy to speak to Nursing Students.

The day was very emotional spending time with #OurFutureNurses who have been studying together for the last 3 years.

Tommy has had the honour to speak at the university a few times before.  You can read the pledges from previous visits. 
Thank you for inviting us to take part in such a brilliant day, continued working together and for the inspiring pledges below.
Team #DCV

My pledge is to always remember the “person” and never to use labels like wanderer or challenging again, and to take this back and try to challenge my team to think and do the same.

Cath Haslam


I pledge to ask all the families whom I visit, how can I help you? What can I do to make your life easier? And listen. And try to make a difference and most of all, be kind.

Sarah Wood.

Pendleside Medical practice


I pledge to make a difference and to give the care that matter to the individual and their carers.

Sara Edwards.

Student nurse UCLAN


I pledge to put myself into their shoes.

Francis G

Student nurse UCLAN


I pledge always use positive language when referring to dementia and the people who have it and to encourage others to do the same.

Beth M.

Student nurse.


I pledge to spend time finding out what matters to my patients

Natalie Moore.

Student nurse and care assistant.


I pledge to always respect people with dementia and treat them as a person not as someone who has dementia.

Emma Welch.


I pledge to not let dementia define a person, it is also to support every patient I come across, I come across and carers and relatives to make them feel that they can overcome the fears they may feel when caring for a person living with dementia.

Amira Sidat

Student nurse.


I pledge to always treat every patient with kindness, always respect them and keep their dignity. To always listen to them, talk to them and value them.

Z. Bibi.

Student nurse.


I pledge to look after and care for my patients as though they are my parents. My pledge is to go the extra mile in kindness and make a difference.

N. Patel

Student nurse.


I pledge to care with warm and kindness and look at individuals more than just a patient.

Rimsha Mahmood.

Student nurse.


I pledge to listen to patients and their families more, take more time with patients.

Zoe Jackson

Student nurse. Assistant practitioner.


I pledge to listen, care and show kindness to all patients and relatives. Support each person the best I can. Treat each person as how I would like to be treated, be a voice, hand or shoulder.

Cathrine Graham

Student nurse.


I pledge to see the person, their story and the people and things that make up their story care for the person, not the illness.

Hannah Knight

Student nurse.


I pledge to get to know my patient on an individual base by spending an extra few mins.

Ceri Howes

Student nurse.


I pledge to emotionally support all vulnerable people, their families and carers.

Katie Lavery.

Student nurse.


I pledge to always remember the little things the holding of a hand, a smile, if remember. These, the people, provide care for will never forget

Charlotte Webster

Student nurse.


I pledge to always try my best to understand how someone is feeling and to always take the time to listen to them, because I care.

Abbey Bullen.

Student nurse.


I pledge to create happy, positive and relationship with the people I care for by keeping getting to know them and their history to help develop a positive future.

Stephanie Hoole.

Student nurse.


I pledge to listen and hear and show understanding and to help people feel less alone.


SN BVH Nurse.


I pledge to make more time to listen and find out what matters to that person. To be the best I can be and to be kind and supportive.

Emma Goodbier.

Staff nurse ward.


I pledge to treat people in a way I would like to be treated if I was to ever rely on help of others.


Student nurse.


I pledge to always be friendly, approachable and kind to my patients, to always listen and care of everybody as an individual person

Clare Walmsley

Student nurse.


I pledge to play a positive part in the lives of those living with dementia and their careers and families.

Sarah Jones.

Student nurse/ Health Assistant.


I pledge simply to care …for anyone, anywhere, ate any time to the very best of my abilities. I pledge to make at least one person smile each day.

Sadie Uttley

Mental health Student nurse. / support worker


I pledge to give my very best to care for people around me giving my love, care and time for as long as I am able for.


Staff nurse


I pledge to listening to my patient’s story and incorporating their believes and choices into their overall care.


Student nurse.


I pledge to support everyone who should go through this illness to prepare their mind to what will come.

Tommaso Pergolini

Staff nurse ELHT


I pledge to be as kind as humanly possible to people with dementia and their family and carers, to listen carefully, learn life stories, love and make a difference

Sarah Griffin.

Staff Nurse


I pledge to make a positive impact to every person I come across in my carrer and life, I will ensure they remember me for the young girl who made them smile and made a difference, through their time of need

P. Deegan.

Student nurse


I pledge to be kindness as first value being a nurse. And make the difference every day helping people who needs.

Garbirele D.

Staff nurse.


I pledge to get to know you as a person and will do my utmost beat to help you to keep your dignity…and make you feel safe amidst the madness in an acute environment

D.D. Fenton.



I pledge to listen and share people stories and what matters to them.


I pledge to find out what is important to the person first by looking at the individual Before the diagnosis.

S. Robbins.

Student nurse.


I pledge to always see past the medical condition and really get to know the person.

Emily F.

Student nurse.


I pledge to be the kindness most compassionate, thoughtful district nurse I can be.


I pledge to touch the lives of people who need care every day with kindness/ compassion/ respect.

Linda Ann Aspinall.

Mental Health Student Nurse


I pledge to take more time to listen to my patient’s stories and to empower my fantastic team to do the same

Hilary Mclaren

Ward manager.


I pledge to support staff do understand the importance of kindness and how they can make a difference every day, and for me do kindness to them

Sue Metters.

District nurse team leader.


I pledge to continue to promote the role of the district nurse and the fabulous work we achieve

J. Short.

District nurse, Lancashire Care Foundation Trust.


I pledge to do my utmost to make sure that no one feels scared or alone. I will treat all my patients as I would like my own to be treated.

Therese E.

Staff nurse


I pledge to ensure that I recognise people as their sotry, not a condition, not a diagnosis, and for the individual they and their family are!

Kelly Simpson.

Student nurse 3rd year ELHT


My pledge is to more listen to patients and do the best every day in my care for patients.


I pledge to care for people with respect and dignity to always see the person and not their condition.

K. Bramwell

Staff nurse



Posted in "You Can Make a Difference" Pledges

What matters to you day 2017


‘What matters to you? day is being held on 6 June 2017, please save the date and plan now for how you might join in on the day.

The aim this year is not only to encourage and support more meaningful conversations, but also to focus on the action that needs to happen in response to these conversations to deliver the care and support people really need and want.

Dementia Carer Voices, Tommy Whitelaw, represents @ALLIANCEScot on the “What matters to you” steering group and has been working with carers and people with long term conditions to find out what matters to them.  Take a look at our “What matters to you” case studies and podcasts.

image1We know from experience and evidence that the effect of focusing on what really matters to people can lead to improvements in the quality and effectiveness of what we do.  Having a better understanding of what is important to people also helps develop relationships that provide the support and help people need to achieve optimal health and wellbeing.

Last year,  ‘What matters to you?’ day had more than 520 health and social care teams across Scotland making a special effort to have more person-centred conversations with the people they work with. In addition to this, more than 100 teams from 13 countries joined our Scottish initiative. You can read more about it in our ‘What matters to you?’ day 2016 report at:

‘What matters to you?’ day is being supported by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, the Minister for Public Health and Sport and the Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing. They will be getting involved on the day as well as sharing messages of encouragement and good practice in the run-up to 6 June.

The Scottish Government and Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s person-centred health and care team will also be supporting health and social care organisations practically to participate in the day by providing advice and resources through the website at

To ask questions or find out more, please contact the person-centred health and care team at


Posted in Events, News

Kind in Mind

Today`s guest blog comes from Gillian Clelland, about her wonderful mum Jean and her caring experiences.  Lets see what Gillian has to say…

When I decided to share the responsibility to care for my mum Jean, who is 85 and has Alzheimer’s with my brother George, I found it both frustrating and rewarding.  Sadly, over the last 10 years, mum has lost all memory of much of her life but happily she still seems contented when she sees our cheeky chops. In order to deal with the more difficult times I like to focus on the good experiences as they restock my resilience pockets and inject a dose of positivity. Below I’ll share 5 – I call them ‘kind in mind’ actions that work for me.

1 Remember emotions remain intact 

Mum has lost track of all things logical but she responds quite normally to emotions! One day when I was quite overwhelmed with her sun downing behaviour I just burst into tears of despair both for her on the evil aspects of the illness and for me at a loss with how to cope! Mum saw me greetin, she immediately dropped out of her tangled thoughts, came and cuddled me and asked what’s wrong? She tried to console me, stroked my hair and even asked ‘where’s your mammy’ with a child like view that mammies fix things! Her actions wrestled me from my sadness and encouraged me to be positive again and I keep this experience front of mind.

2 Playing Games

We play a lot of games.  Balloons is easily the best.  It’s a guaranteed distraction technique.  So are colouring books and dominos, tho’ it is quite humbling to be gubbed by an 85 year old with such significant cognitive impairment.  Jigsaws also work, I’ve gradually been buying younger and younger age groups with extra large pieces so that she can still do most of it by herself! Ravensburger puzzles, aged 5 or 6 are best.  Mum will entertain minions, kittens and puppies but says princesses, action heroes and telly tubbies are for the weans!

Remembering to play is really important, I even tried a pillow the fight the other day when I asked mum to help me change the bed. With a little trepidation I dunted her gently with a big soft cloud, not at all sure of how she would react, but she laughed and giggled more than I had seen her laugh in years as she quite lamely tried to fight back!  It just melted my heart with happiness to know that she, occasionally, still can share funny moments and give herself a belly rumbling laugh at the same time.

3 Keep cuddling 

Just like toddlers, it seems to me that since mum can no longer understand or communicate much, hugs or even simply holding hands is the language of choice. Mum sometimes doesn’t return my cuddle, maybe she’s not sure who she’s hugging at first, but if I squeeze long enough and tight enough then love and smiles usually break through!

4 Choosing kind words

“OH DEAR!”   Whatever way you say it, ‘oh dear’ sounds sad!

“OOPS” on the other hand has a slightly surprising mischievous tone.

I try to remember to say ‘oops’ rather than ‘oh dear’ and give my brain a jolt to think positively about the situation I find myself in! It also implies accident rather than fault. Handy when accidents are often caused by someone who can’t help it!

5 Keep smiling

If all else fails sometimes I get serious. I look straight at mum and exclaim… “Mum will you do me a favour?” Usually this gets her attention and she looks at me confused. I say with a grin… “will you give me a big SMILE today?” So far it still works! We get a fleeting connection and share a silly moment in our crazy universe!

A friend once told me that “the word kindness originally meant being kin, or kindred, or of the same kind. And since we are all humankind, we should remember to be kinder to one another. The alternative is to be unkind, eg failing to connect or even alienating someone.”

Now there are eejits in the world that could do with a stern word, but when it comes to supporting a person bearing the burden of dementia, I try to be ‘kind in mind’ !  Carers need to be kind to themselves too.  It true that you do give up a lot of yourself to care for someone else but I have found that by cherishing the little magic moments, it gives me strength to keep going. There’s a quote by American writer, Joseph Campbell that sums this up…

“Find a place in life where there is joy and the joy with burn out the pain”

This is my mum, Jean, smiling!


Posted in 'Viewpoint' Blog Posts

Dementia Carer Voices January/February 2017 Newsletter

ALLIANCE Annual Report – Showcasing DCV in top ten of ten years

The ALLIANCE has published its interactive annual report for 2016, which highlights some of the organisation’s key activities over the course of the tenth anniversary year.


Dementia Carer Voices are delighted to feature 8th in the Power of 10 – Top Ten Achievements, showcasing the You Can Make a Difference Pledge Campaign.

Download a copy of the report by visiting the ALLIANCE website.

If you would like to receive a hard copy of the report, please contact call 0141 404 0231


Reaching 12,000 pledges

2017 has kicked off to a great start with us reaching our 12,000 pledge milestone, with 252 of them made in January alone, reaching over 65,000 people in person at the seminars.

Thanks to every one of you who have made a pledge and for your continued support. Do keep us up-to-date on how you are getting on with fulfilling your pledge.


All the pledges can be viewed on our blog.

If you would like to contact us or make a pledge you can by emailing or tweet us at @DementiaCarerVo



Dementia Post Diagnostic Support: NHS Board Performance 2014-15

On Tuesday 24 January, the Scottish Government published Dementia Post Diagnostic Support: NHS Board Performance 2014-15.

Full report can now be downloaded from the ALLIANCE website.


Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences Students @ University of Strathclyde pledge


Dementia Carer Voices were invited to speak to 3rd year pharmacy students on Monday 9 January, as part of their consolidation week. Project Engagement Lead, Tommy was joined by his colleague, Graeme Morrison ( @ALLIANCEGraeme ), Prescription for Excellence Inclusion Officer, to talk about the importance of seeing the person behind the condition and focusing on what matters to people. Pharmacists are very accessible healthcare professionals and have a growing role in supporting people with long term conditions, so it was important to emphasise the difference that these future pharmacists could make to people’s lives.

You can view the pledges made on the day over on our blog


Learning and Improvement Network for Specialist Dementia Units Launch Events

ALLIANCE Director, Irene Oldfather and Project Engagement Lead, Tommy Whitelaw attended the Programme Learning and Improvement Network for Specialist Dementia Units launch events in Glasgow and Edinburgh in January 2017. Both Irene and Tommy are on the ‘Focus on Dementia’ National Advisory Group, as the project is one of the key partners for working across 5 specialist dementia units and 2 acute areas in Scotland. The first meeting was held on Wednesday 1 February, looking at the feedback from the learning events and future ideas and taking the partnership forward.


Future DCV events

Keep up-to-date with events DCV are attending over the next month. To find out more, see our “Get Involved” page over on our blog.



Our GP

“Over the past months, the ALLIANCE have been working with people and professionals on ‘Our GP’, a pioneering Scottish Government funded project that aims to ‘co-design’ future digital GP services. This has led to the creation of three innovative citizen-led ideas for new digital GP services, described in a brief explainer video.


We are encouraging members of the public and healthcare professionals to now get involved online!  Individuals can view quick demos of these three ideas for new services on our website, then give us their views through a short survey by the 16th of February. This will help identify the most valued ideas and redesign these innovative digital tools, which aim to improve people’s experience with GP practices.

Now is the time to have your say in designing Scotland’s future GP digital services  By taking part you could also win a great prize like an Apple Macbook Pro, smartwatch or a Fitbit.


SAVE THE DATE: Next Self Management Networking Event

The next Self Management Network Scotland event will be held on Thursday 27 April in Glasgow. More details on how to register will follow but for now please save the date!

After two years, and with 475 members, we think it’s time to have a look at how we enable effective communication within the network and how you can share learning with one another.

We also want to think about “so what?” With all the self management knowledge gathered within the network, let’s think together about how we can use that knowledge to make change happen.

We are working on the agenda at the moment but are happy to hear your ideas on what can help us answer the key questions this event will address:

  1. How do we effectively share knowledge within the Self Management Network Scotland?
  2. How do we use this knowledge to make change happen?

Look out for more information soon. If you have any questions or would like to share your ideas, please contact


Posted in News