Are health and social care services working closely enough with communities to combat social isolation?

Social isolation has the potential to affect people of all ages and backgrounds, and the feeling of loneliness which so often accompany it are well documented within academic research as having a damaging impact on a person’s health and wellbeing. Read More “Are health and social care services working closely enough with communities to combat social isolation?”

Do Not Ask Me To Remember

Do Not Ask Me To Remember,
Don’t try to make me understand,
Let me rest and know you are with me,
Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

I am confused beyond your concept,
I am sad and sick and lost,
All I know is that I need you,
To be with me at all cost.

Do not lose your patience with me,
Do not scold or curse or cry,
I can’t help the way I am acting,
Can’t be different though I try.

Just remember that I need you,
That the best of me is gone,
Please don’t fail to stand beside me,
Love me until my life is done.

My Mum

My Mum lives with me, my Dad, husband and two children aged 6 and 9 years. She also lives with dementia.

Mum and Dad came to live with us in South Wales just after Mum was formally diagnosed, 3 years ago – there is one thing certain about dementia, it isn’t going to get better so we knew planning for the future was essential and taking a team approach to caring for Mum meant we could support each other. Mum had been ill for a long time but I suppose, like us, medics hadn’t considered a dementia in someone so young. Looking back I remember the first signs of Mum’s memory loss when she was in her mid 50’s.

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April blog roundup by Academy Champion Audrey Birt

I write this blog roundup in the run up to the general election, where it seems the tectonic plates are shifting here in Scotland. We can be forgiven for thinking politics is simply about party politics but the true meaning of politics comes from Greek: πολιτικός politikos which is defined as  “of, for, or relating to citizens”. And it strikes me that has been a theme for all the blogs this month and indeed a key principle of the Academy itself. We know the personal is political.

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Only the lonely….

I was reading an article recently and it posed the question “what do you fear most?”. Straight away I thought “loneliness” and I admit it shocked me. Where did that come from? Of course I know we have an issue with loneliness in our society. We have more single person households than we have ever had and that affects not only older people but younger people too. We have more digital interaction but that in itself can erode human relationships and connection which we need to thrive and to stay well. Loneliness has an impact on life expectancy equivalent to 15 cigarettes a day. The connection of mental health issues, especially in men who are isolated, young and old, is clear and a serious concern.

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Feeling lonely? You might not be alone

Social isolation was the topic of discussion during a recent Health and Social Care Academy roundtable event, held to coincide with the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee’s ongoing inquiry into this growing issue. It’s fair to say that we could have run the session for double the two hours that we’d allocated, given that promoting social connectedness is key thread running through the activities of ALLIANCE members, and such was the level of insight provided by our guest speakers from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and COPE Scotland.

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“I’m sorry but I think you are dying”

To any clinician these are hard words to say. For patients they may be harder to hear however for some they are a relief as they have come to terms with the fact that they are dying. Sadly, because we perceive the impact of saying them, we tend to avoid them and focus on what we, the clinical body, do best – diagnose illness, organise tests and formulate management plans. Even though it may be obvious to all that an individual is facing the end of their life we often we cling to the hope offered by modern medicine and its miracles.

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