We Care Design was originally an action research project:
Service Design meets Social Care Services for Adults & Older People with Dementia – Patients, Pros and Carers. Discovering how it is and how it can be. Or making sense of the dementia world as a Service Design & Innovation consultant and Working Family Carer 2009-2015.
We Care Design started in October 2010 as a twitter stream @wecaredesign and in 2011 I then added a We Care Design blog to go into more detail. It now represents six years of reaching out, gathering info and making sense of the world as a dementia carer. My role as a working family carer ended in March 2015 when my father passed away peacefully.
My interest and insights into the world of family care for older people and particularly those with dementia continues. I am now able to give more time again to my role as service design and innovation consultant (including digital). You will see the mix of the two is quite unique… my wish is that noone has to go through what I had to in the future, services communicate better between each other and that more older people are enabled to stay in their own homes as long as possible.
I now have two talks that have proven helpful to others in the field so far:
• My Carer Journey
• Digital Tools and Dementia
I have been asked to speak and share insights with NHS mHealthHabitat Show and Tell evenings, NHS England Staff Social Engagement, Wuthering Bytes Tomorrows’ People, Leeds Dementia Strategy Board Carers Takeover and Leeds Memory Support Workers Training.
The original inspiration for We Care Design hit when I saw both the combination of service funding cuts and the growing needs of those with dementia and their families rise at the same time. My father had moderate level Alzheimer’s at the time and that gave me great insight into the world of services for this condition, how they work and opportunities for improvement to meet the needs of people with dementia and those around them.
In the future I would like to gather insights/enable collaborations and innovations between the whole community of care around each person – to include the person with dementia, the family carer, the wider family, the careworker team around them, the professional health practitioners, service managers, social workers and all innovators in the field. Unlike any other illness, Alzheimer’s is not limited to the patient and occasional input from professionals, it is far beyond a weekly shop, it is a life changing condition for those around them – we need to care and I believe people-centred service design can enable this.
Despite greatly fragmented services and patchy public information, I believe the whole experience of dementia doesn’t have to be a nightmare. There are some things we can change… it’s time to innovate and use technology, new and old more intelligently. Allowing dementia to be a subject we can really talk about, understand the many challenges for families and professionals… innovation in these areas of care is a real opportunity.
I now attend the weekly twitter chat #AlzChat 8pm on Mondays, where people in the UK and UK gather to share thoughts and ideas on different facets of dementia care – a forum I have personally found very helpful.
If you’d like to know more or have any questions, please get in touch either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @wecaredesign