Dementia Carer Voices March/April 2017 Newsletter

Dementia Carer Voices launches Facebook Page

Dementia Carer Voices has launched its new Facebook page to engage more widely with people with dementia, their families and carers.

Please give us a like at:

Thank you to the 13,000 people!

The Dementia Carer Voices team would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has made a pledge as part of the ‘You Can Make a Difference’ campaign. We are absolutely delighted to have received 13,000 pledges! This is an incredible milestone, and is only possible due to the commitment and compassion from everyone who has attended a talk or read about the campaign and made a promise to make a positive difference in the lives of people with dementia and their carers.


The team have been taking the ‘You Can Make a Difference’ campaign to 550 talks to date, reaching over 75,000, staff and students throughout the UK to highlight that no matter what their role, everyone working in Health and Social Care Services has the potential to transform the lives and experiences of people with dementia and their carers, often in seemingly small ways.


Irene Oldfather, Director, the ALLIANCE said:
“This work reaches out and touches the hearts of many people, not least Health and Social Care students and professionals. These interactions are an ideal opportunity for staff to pause and reflect on what is really important to the people in their care. Make a pledge, make a difference.”

Tommy Whitelaw, Dementia Carer Voices Project Engagement Lead, said: 

“Carers tell us that a little bit of time, listening and understanding can make an unimaginable difference during what can be a very difficult and lonely journey. The pledges that we have received have been truly inspiring, and we’re looking forward to working with people and seeing those pledges fulfilled.”

If you have been inspired to make a pledge , please get in touch and email us your pledge at

Dementia Carer Voices and Erskine teaming up once again!

Massive thanks to our great friend Derek Barron @dtbarron for the kind invite to speak and give 4 talks at Erskine Hospital @Erskine1916 on 21st and 27th April. Project Engagement Lead Tommy had the great honour to speak at Erskine a few months ago.

We are honoured to be invited and continue our great relationship with Derek. We launched our first pledge talks and trees with Derek back in 2015 at NHSAA along with a short film.

We are looking forward to continue our work together with Derek over the coming years in his new role as Director of Care and linking up with our great friend Janice McAlister @janicemcalister again at the talks.


Erskine is Scotland’s foremost provider of care for veterans and their spouses, Erskine provides unrivalled nursing, residential, respite and dementia care within four homes across Scotland.  An important aspect of ensuring the care we provide is of the highest standard is to ensure our staff have the training, skills and knowledge to support them in delivering compassionate, person and relationship based care.

DCV Administrator, Laura McCulloch, attended the talks on the 21st at Erskine with Tommy, and William Griffiths, Policy and Information Intern, accompanied Tommy for the two on the 27th April.

Dementia Carer Voices attends the National Conference and Graduation for Dementia Champions

ALLIANCE Director, Irene Oldfather, and Policy and Information Intern, William Griffiths, attended the 7th cohort of Dementia Champions Graduation at Murrayfield Stadium on the 15th March. Through poster presentations and concurrent sessions, the event showcased and celebrated the work of Alzheimer’s Scotland Dementia Champions.


It was a good day with interesting posters and informative breakout sessions on informed consent, end of life care and more. Congratulations to all those who graduated as Dementia Champions on the day.


Remembering mums across the world on Mother’s Day

DCV marked Mother’s Day on the 26th March as an opportunity to reflect on motherly love and caring.

Happy Mother`s Day

The days we laughed

The days we cried

The days we shared the loss, the broken heart,

So it was less than half as hard.


The days we smiled,

The days we played ,

The days we danced,

The days we sang

Those were the best days

To remember forever.


The days we loved ……

the flowers, the sunshine, the rainbows, the waves, the birds,

the laughter and the tears of joy.


The memories ……

that can never be let go

That live in our hearts forever


But you – a part of me – and I of you –

so part of me died too.

But still you rescued me through the flowers, and the rainbows and the waves and the birds – for you loved the birds,

And the laughter and the tears of joy –

you wouldn’t let me go

to that too sad place.

And so the snowdrops and the birds and the words –

that was MY mum.

By Irene Oldfather


Caring for Mum

This month’s guest blog came from Alison Tait @Allisonrtait 

Allison is the Co-Chair at the Scottish Practice Nurse Association. Allison wrote her blog as a daughter.

Please read her full blog post here.


Allison with her mum Betty.

Dementia Carer Voices featured in the Danish Parliament 

Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw’s talks were the subject of discussion at the Danish Parliament on the 17th March when the organisation Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief held their ‘It Takes a Village’ exhibition in Copenhagen.

Denmark has been keen to learn the experiences from Scottish end of life care, and it was a great honour for Dementia Carer Voices to be one of their learning resources.

Hatton Lea Care Home Launch Pledge Initiative

Thank you to Caroline York, June Sugden and all at Hatton Lea Care Home for inviting Tommy to speak at the launch of their pledge tree on 13 April 2017.

Caroline and some colleagues heard Tommy speak at a Dementia Ambassadors Conference back in December 2016 and got in touch for us to give a talk at Hatton Lea Care launch of the pledge initiative.


You can read more from the care home press release in the Motherwell Times.

Caroline York, unit manager at the home, added:

“Tommy’s commitment to the pledge tree concept is extremely inspirational”.

Thank you all for a wonderful day the great kindness and inspirational pledges and tree


See our latest pledge posts from talks at Glasgow University, Poole Hospital and many more.

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.

Dementia Carer Voices to show poster at Alzheimer’s Scotland and NHS Scotland Conferences

Dementia Carer Voices will present our poster explaining our project at the upcoming Alzheimer’s Scotland conference on the 2nd June and the NHS Scotland conference on the 20th – 21st June. If you’re attending either of those conferences, please do keep an eye out for our stand and have a chat with members of the team.

ALLIANCE Conference – Change: The Health and Social Care Integration event

Join the ALLIANCE, our members and partners at our 2017 annual conference on the 30th May. It will be focused on integration and change. What kind of change is needed? Where are the examples of change happening for the good? Is it happening fast enough in health and social care? What are the factors that drive the kind of change that makes a positive difference to people’s lives? How can we influence change?

The event will focus on putting people firmly at the centre of decision making and will cover broad areas that affect people’s lives. The programme and venue will be designed around different zones reflecting many of the key issues that most affect the lives of people who live with long term conditions, disabled people and unpaid carers.

Have a look at our conference agenda. Download your booking form here or call 0141 404 0231 to get support to fill in your form.

Posted in Events

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