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.
Since 2013 I've often felt like a lone-voice in the dementia world, talking about learning disability services and receiving blank expressions in return, so nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing so many others discovering the gem that is MacIntyre and being as impressed as I was four years ago.
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.
September marks World Alzheimer's Month, the annual 30-day awareness-raising campaign led by Alzheimer's Disease International. Cue lots of dementia-related news stories, events, and social media activity. Amongst the flurry, this tweet caught my eye:
As a result, to say I am highly sceptical about the way care providers aggressively promote themselves in slick brochures and films is an understatement. As the Dispatches programme showed, Bupa are very good at promoting their values, less good at living them in all of the care homes that carry their branding.
Good care in people's own homes or community settings is vital for the proactive management of long-term conditions, which by default then reduces additional physical or mental health problems, promotes wellbeing, enables people to continue using or to regain as many life-skills as possible, keeps families united and provides dignified support to all who need it.
To fulfill this aim, I could only ever have begun a blog about dementia. A very 'uncool' topic maybe, but much like my dad's 19 years with dementia, blogging about dementia has taught me a lot. It's also been an amazing therapy. But why?
Suzy's view is that her parents cared for her, and her role now is to do likewise for them. Perhaps it helps that she is an only child, with a supportive husband and two children who, from the way they care for their grandmother, are an exemplary example of non-judgmental dementia care.
<img alt="all women everywhere" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/5135874/original.jpg" width="300" height="35" />
Many more amazing women live with dementia and share their experiences in a myriad of different ways. It's impossible to list them all, but their contribution enhances our understanding and, in turn, provides invaluable learning to improve care and support for everyone living with dementia.
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.
Our NHS does many amazing things every single day. Indeed you might argue just surviving this long as a free-at-the-point-of-use healthcare system as various governments have tinkered around the edges with it is, in itself, a bit of a miracle. But real quality of care, the sort that seems on the face of it to be very basic but in reality is utterly transformative, is rarely mentioned. In this blog I want to remedy that in my own small way.
<img alt="tech for good" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/4343170/original.jpg" width="300" height="35" />
The second reason I'm a fan is the many similarities between my motivation for my work and James' motivation for his. James' mum had younger onset dementia, and he gave up his career to care for her. His experiences with his mum have underpinned everything he's put into creating and now running Unforgettable.
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.
When I first began working as a dementia consultant for MacIntyre in 2013, I was struck by how their learning disability services encourage the people they are supporting to be front and centre in their work.
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).
That last point, which for many gets to the heart of why the ambitions for the Care Act aren't being realized, is certainly a fair reflection of the current climate. However, for me, finding solutions is as much about creativity as it is requests for more money. Carers do amazing work in their unpaid role, and as a society we need to show the same resolve in finding ways to support them.
04/07/2016 10:09 BST
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