The Caring Circle (Blog)

One person can make a difference

One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.
(John Fitzgerald Kennedy)

This suddenly feels like such a responsibility…and yet one which I have wanted to pursue for quite a while. Firstly though let me be clear about the purpose of this blog and the opportunity to be more interactive with all of you.

I am aware that setting up a blog has a certain expectation attached to it. After all – what is it that I know that I assume I can share with others??? Or dare I even assume that others would be interested in sharing??? Please allow me to be clear about my expectations and limitations in this area.

I know a lot about ageing, aged care and living with dementia. This has, after all been my life for almost 40 years. Interestingly though the other thing that has occurred over time is my own ageing, my own maturation and at times my own seeking (and sometimes finding) of life wisdom’s. I am an observer of people, of circumstance and a seeker of truths. I like most, have experienced life events which have informed me, changed me, impacted upon me deeply and fuelled a need for further understanding.

I am so sensitive to the inequities, the injustices that often underpin the care of older people but I am also painfully sensitive to many of the pervasive injustices of life in general. To some degree that marks the foundation of this blog…this alignment (or collision) of the planets of these two aspects of my life……and a desire to share these observations to make a difference. I am now in a relatively peaceful part of my life. In a joyous relationship with a loving partner, choosing work that makes my heart sing…(although too much of it at times) continuing to work on my own personal and spiritual growth , seeking inspiration and mentorship from others whilst still working with acceptance of some of the challenges in my life.

I have stood in front of classrooms for many years now sharing my thoughts, my observations my dreams for the future of aged care but change has been so slow, painfully at times.  I am challenged regularly in these settings by how we can truly change things. Despite surrounding myself with likeminded people and people who believe all things are possible, we struggle regularly to impact on rigid and insensitive systems and often archaic, primitive thinking. Well this is putting my money where my mouth is…..literally.

Last year I lost my adored father and mother in law in circumstances which could readily be considered “aged care disasters”. The additional pain of being an aged care professional, having worked in the industry for forty years…who could not even guarantee her father or her mother in law a gentle final journey – was devastating. I actually lost my voice after these incidents. I could not recall their stories, as the pain was too pervasive, the regret, the remorse and the anger too overwhelming.

Now though is the time. These stories have become an impetus for working harder to make a pervasive difference. I understand that there would be two views about this, both of which were outlined in evaluations of a workshop I facilitated the other day. On one hand participants congratulated me on being brave enough to share my life and my stories…in the pursuit of outlining fully the impact of “person centred care” whilst others said there was little to be gained by presenting negative stories and that positive examples of care practices are what influences people . I would like to think though – that there is benefit in doing both ….although ultimately you now become the judge of that over time.

With great humility I share and seek answers to making a difference …in aged care and in the broader arena of life. I will make a commitment though, if using an example of poor practice to ensure I provide a counter balance of a positive one …or at least offer some contributions to what could make a positive difference in the future. My blog therefore aims to contribute to that….nothing more …nothing less…welcome to the ride.