Freelance Campaigner, Consultant, Writer and Blogger
A pioneering campaigner, consultant, writer and blogger with a passion for dementia, health, social care and issues affecting older people, Beth’s work has been described as engaging, informative, inspiring and easy to understand.
She believes in appealing to the hearts and minds of her audience, communicating honestly and passionately, and tackling subjects that many people might consider ‘difficult’.
After walking side-by-side with her Dad during the 19 years of his dementia, Beth began her D4Dementia blog http://d4dementia.blogspot.co.uk/ in May 2012, and has since gone on to win ‘Best Independent Voice on Older People’s Issues’ at the Older People in the Media Awards, worked with the UK Government on the G8 Dementia Summit, and provided her expertise to numerous Government agencies and health and social care providers.
Beth’s portfolio can be found on her website http://www.bethbritton.com/ and her work can be read in a wide variety of online and print media. She also undertakes public speaking engagements.
When not busy with work or being a mum, her other interests are varied and extensive, and include many different sports and forms of entertainment. She is also passionate about travelling, current affairs, food, relationship and lifestyle issues to name just a few.
Ageing and longevity have often been hotly discussed in my household. My other half has always held the view that if you aren't fit and well there is no point in getting older - quality of life rather than quantity of years is what he wants for himself.
My father had dysphagia for the last four years of his life with dementia. A fairly long time, considering how frail and prone to infections he became. But my dad was never one to give up easily, and proudly maintained his status as the person with one of the best appetites in his care home despite not having a tooth in his mouth and living with dysphagia.
As the world reels from the news of President Trump, and the UK remains immersed in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, politics seems to be the hot topic in every household... or at least that's what we are led to believe.
Right now there are people who are unnecessarily in hospital beds, losing independence and desperate to be discharged. Meanwhile, there are people in their own homes having to choose between getting out of bed, having a shower, eating a meal or going to the toilet (because they don't have the support to do it all).
How we move the agenda beyond seeing a person through the prism of their age is something that I fear will be a long hard road to tread. Older people are seen by many younger people as an unnecessary drain on public resources, while at the same time many older people who want to contribute more to society are restricted from doing so by ageist policies and practices.
Wait and see if social care providers fail, or put in some extra money to help councils pay the true cost of care. There is precious little understanding of what care provision really costs, and regardless of whether a provider has a profit making model or a not-for-profit model, the true cost of care is one that is greatly undervalued. The living wage will help to ensure that staff are more valued in the future, but without providers to work for that will be irrelevant.
As shoppers partake in a rush to buy all those Christmas essentials (and indeed all the things you think you need but probably don't), this may not have much significance for the majority of people who are queuing up to pay for their goods, but it's prompted a lot of soul-searching in my mind.
So my plea to George Osborne is this: Come 25 November, remember that social care cannot be robbed to pay for the NHS, or indeed any other vital public service. It is a vital public service in its own right, and deserves a funding settlement befitting of its importance, the huge and growing need for its services, and the fact that, if we pride ourselves as a country that cares about the most vulnerable in society, social care IS the foundation of that principle. Remove the foundations and everything crumbles.
When most people think about nurses, it's usually hospitals that spring to mind. Occasionally some people might identify with their local GP practice nurse or district nurse, but suffice to say that nursing is very much seen within the confines of the NHS. Yet what about social care?
Admiral Nurses are to dementia what Macmillan nurses are to cancer: specialists in their field, and an invaluable resource to families. Furthermore, in the desperate need to provide more integrated services for families affected by dementia,
Children often notice more than adults give them credit for. If a relative is living with dementia, there may be a need to explain to a child about particular symptoms or why that person can no longer do something that they used to do.
I am always immensely uncomfortable when anyone tries to put a monetary value on dementia, purely because I know that there is so much more to calculating the 'cost' of dementia than could ever be accurately represented by the use of pound signs. The emotional, all-encompassing, life-changing (and life-shortening) effects of dementia reach far and wide into every family affected.
Eighty percent of the older people living in one of the featured care homes go out to do activities on a daily basis, and children come into the care home from the local school to do intergenerational work.
When it comes to my great passion, dementia, the UK's major charities - Alzheimer's Society, Alzheimer's Research UK and Dementia UK - are all becoming household names. Interestingly though, when my story of my dad's life with dementia was unknown, it was a charity hardly anyone in the dementia world talks about who showed most interest in me.
A friend of mine in Australia, Kate Swaffer, who is living with early-onset/young-onset dementia calls it 'paddling'. Trying to keep up with the demands of daily living and contribute to social interaction is, for Kate, about constantly paddling
How do you feel about the idea of needing someone to dress you, wash you, help you to the toilet or change your incontinence pads, feed you, give you medication, move you around, and enable you to watch the TV programmes of your choosing or listen to the music that you love?
26/03/2013 16:02 GMT
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