When we think about our wellbeing, we think of avoiding major diseases, being financially comfortable, enjoying our daily lives and achieving our goals. Often we never stop to consider those invisible yet vital qualities of support, understanding and love that are provided by the people we keep close to us.
Informal kinship carers have to date been a largely 'hidden population' who take on a huge burden from the state in providing care, often at very little notice, for children who would otherwise end up in the care system. I know, after a career spent in delivering services to children and their carers.
I was just 12 years old when my father began to exhibit the symptoms of what we discovered 10 years later was vascular dementia. My twenties weren't about university life, all-night parties and angst with boyfriends, they were about supporting my dad to have the best life he could, just as he had supported me as a child.
The moral imperative to root out ageism in the NHS now has legal backing, following the recent expansion of the age-related provisions of the 2010 Equality Act to include services. All public sector organisations must eliminate unequal treatment on the grounds of age. But where do we start in cancer care?
The key in all this is to remember that it's not so called "challenging behaviour" it's actual challenging behaviour. My coccyx and fingers have been broken not "so called broken" but actually broken. Because that's what caring for someone with challenging behaviours is like. Not "so called" like, actually like.
Today is Older People's Day - a welcome celebration of the contribution that older people make to society. There will be much written, and still more done, to underline the importance of building bonds and relationships between people of all ages. Less, however, might be said about the issue of 'active ageing', what it means to older people and how we might achieve it.