Since I started my social mission six years ago I’ve struggled to get Health & Social Care stakeholders on board. The biggest issue has been the lack of evidence on the impact Golf in Society has on people’s lives.
Last year I was lucky enough to be accepted onto Sheffield Hallam University’s Wellbeing Accelerator programme. It’s purpose was to support start-ups working in the healthy ageing space to scale. Each start-up received a package of support and access to an amazing group of mentors.
When asked “how can we best support you?” the answer was simple. I requested a research study into the impact our golf sessions were having on the lives of the families we were supporting.
Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, I’m pleased to say that the Impact Study has now been published. The qualitative and quantitative data is compelling evidence of how we transform lives.
To have a leading sports research institute produce this report will prove to be a game-changer for Golf in Society. It’s provided us with the vital evidence and credibility we lacked to engage successfully with Health & Social Care stakeholders.
Here’s the infographics that highly the key findings from the research.
2. Impact on participants according to carers
3. Impact on participants
This research has provided us with the “missing link” and will act as a springboard to get our pioneering social enterprise adopted more widely across the UK, taking us a step closer to making our social mission a reality.
Six years ago I sensed we could transform lives through golf, now we have the indisputable evidence to back up that gut-instinct.
Following on from Linda’s blog about the first day of their recent “Time to Relax” leisure break, I’m delighted to share the second half of Linda’s story with you.
So Linda, it’s over to you to take us through day two..
Linda Barnes – Wife to Carer
I’m getting some breakfast juice. I return to the table to find Ken trying to eat the cornflakes I’d left in front of him with a knife and fork.
No one else around the table bats an eyelid. There is no embarrassment. It is simply a demonstration of where Ken is in his dementia journey. I gently swap the cutlery for a spoon, and am given a smile by a fellow carer, no words are needed.
Ken woke this morning in a four poster bed of giant proportions. In fact the room and everything in it makes me feel small. It’s impressive and fabulous but not perhaps dementia friendly, it is designed for a far grander purpose.
There’s a huge gilt freestanding mirror. Perfect for a bride to admire her trousseau, but to Ken it has a menacing edge. He catches a glimpse and thinks there is some else in the room. I demonstrate my comedic skills and dance in front of the reflection, a reassurance there is no one but us.
The bath is an incredible feature, the stuff of posh magazines and footballer’s houses. I joke even if we could get in, we’d never get out. But it is the shower screen that is our biggest obstacle, a plain sheet of glass, very discreet and modern, but Ken can’t judge where it is and is frightened by it.
Dementia brains are different, spatial awareness can be compromised. What is obvious to us isn’t to Ken. It is the only negative I can suggest in our whole two days. I think perhaps the bridal suite would be better suited to a higher functioning couple than we are.
It’s raining, so plan B is put into operation. The boys go tenpin bowling. I’ve a little apprehension re the bowling shoes, but Covid measures mean changing footwear isn’t required. The boys have a fantastic morning.
Meanwhile we ladies take on the tasks of self care and preservation. We have a ‘wellness session’ which reveals deeply hidden emotion. I have a neck and shoulder massage. It is a mixture of pleasure and pain, as my lovely therapist tries to undo the knots in my muscles. I feel inches taller when it’s over.
We paint pictures with non dominant hands and are encouraged to make mess, it’s all about finding the child within us.
More food, delicious soup and sandwiches. Then more cake.
Our afternoon session is a lesson in meditation, all about the breath, all too soon it’s time to go.
The lads are having a sports quiz, prizes are awarded for the bowling, everyone is smiling, that positive buzz hasn’t faded.
A closure speech.
There’s thank you’s all round.
I don’t think the organisers can truly appreciate what they have given their guests.
We have felt nurtured, respected, understood.
Everyone has benefited from the experience and will hopefully carry its effect with them when returning to the everyday.
A social entrepreneurial experiment that has been a massive success. We have shown people living with dementia can still have a fantastic time if the venue and people are sensitive to needs.
It reflects on society as a whole, if more people understand dementia then we are all the richer. The support staff undoubtedly had as good time as we did. It just takes understanding, and a bit of a gamble, I’m so glad they took a chance on us .
For the first time for a very long time we felt like any ‘normal’ couple.
I wish the project every success, and hope it will go from strength to strength so that more couples get the chance to experience the positivity
An opportunity to make a difference?
This certainly was.
Thank you so much.
Wow, what can I say. Linda’s insight, as well as the feedback from her fellow wives and carers is priceless to me. Without it, how on earth could we design services that create opportunities to be “normal”.
For those of you like me who cannot imagine a day without sport in your life, you’ll quickly realise why meeting George and his wife Gillian was a very special day in my life.
passed away recently but has left me, and many others, with some very special
memories that will last a lifetime. My life is richer for knowing him.
George was one of my first clients when I started as a Caregiver with Home Instead Harrogate. In the early days I used to take him to enjoy group exercise sessions for people with Parkinson’s. We also spent many an hour catching up on the sports news and the state of politics.
George enjoyed sport throughout his life, especially cricket and football. He also enjoyed his career as a cricket umpire and football referee. The George Haydon Cup that we will play for is a very special piece of silverware as it was presented to him for services to refereeing in the London area.
Gillian told me the significance of the trophy that she was dedicating in
George’s memory it moved me to tears.
George’s interest in politics stemmed from a career as a public servant in the Treasury. One of his claims to fame was playing cricket with John Major. As an MCC member and an Arsenal season ticket holder, you can imagine the lovely moments we enjoyed chatting, debating and watching sport together.
favourite footballer was the late, great Charlie George.
It was an absolute pleasure to support George enjoy the sporting banter he had loved throughout his life.
one of George’s greatest legacies is that our Parkinson’s Golf Days would never
have happened without a “light-bulb” conversation in his living room.
away with Gillian and George about my dementia golf days in Lincoln resulted in
this question “Have you ever considered doing something similar for
they say, the rest is history with over 20 people enjoying our fortnightly golf
days at Rudding Park.
regret is that the golf days started too late for George. However, his legacy
is that so many others are enjoying better lives with Parkinson’s as a result
of discovering golf.
It will be a very emotional moment when we hand The George Haydon Cup to the winning team at our fundraiser on the 14th August.
Who would have know that golf is one of the new wonder drugs. It has the power to reduce chronic illness, improve healthy ageing, reduce loneliness, give people a sense of purpose and reduce the inactivity timebomb facing our nation.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of listening to the attached presentation by Dr William Bird from Intelligent Health. It was the most compelling and thought-provoking medical presentation I’ve ever witnessed. A wonder drug called FITERIX was introduced to us that has all the necessary ingredients to transform the health & wellbeing of our ageing popualtion.
During the presentation we all took part in a poll as to how much moderate exercise we had completed the day before. The audience of nearly 200 people were all asked to keep their hands up as Dr Bird kept increasing the number of hours achieved. Most people had their hand up at the 30 minute point. Half the people put their hand down at one hour. Only twenty people still had their hands up at the two hour mark. I was one of only six people left with their hands up as achieving more than three hours moderate exercise.
When asked to explain how I’d managed to fit so much exercise into my working day my reply was simple ” I play golf every day and support others to enjoy the game too”.
Here’s the link to Dr Bird’s full presentation. It’s the most compelling argumentation ever as to why GOLF FITERIX should be socially prescribed and made more accessible to families throughout the UK.
Walt Disney famously said “if you can dream it, you can do it”. When I started Golf In Society three years ago I never dreamt that my golfers would have three holes in one in a calendar year. In the golfing world a hole in one is known as an “ace”.
On Wednesday at Rudding Park, Brenda became our third golfer to ace a hole. She hit a lovely 7 iron and one bounce later it was in the hole. For those of you that have achieved and ace you will know the sheer joy of the moment.
Brenda got the chance to sign the “hole in one hall of fame” book in the clubhouse, her name and achievement etched into golfing history for all to see. The wonderful memories of the day will stay with her for a lifetime.
For the golfers reading this you will know that some people play for a lifetime and never get a hole in one. To know that we’ve had three this year is nothing short of a minor miracle. This achievement is even more amazing when you consider that one of my hole in one golfers had never picked up a golf club before he joined us two years ago.
Rob, my first “hole in one hero” this year is a great example of how golf can transform a life. Rob has been diagnosed with PD and is challenged to control his movement and maintain his balance.
He was referred to us by a Parkinson’s nurse at Harrogate hospital. Improving muscle strength, balance and co-ordination are important aspects of living well with this neurological disease.
When Rob joined us we worked on his balance, posture and movement control. Once his confidence grew we introduced him to the golf swing. Building this confidence to swing a golf club was crucial. Interestingly, the more he concentrated on the golf swing the more controlled his movement became.
Here’s a photo of Rob preparing to swing a club during his first golf day with us.
Rob has now been golfing with us for just over two years and has already achieved the incredible feat of having a hole in one. He now has his own set of clubs and trolley that he brings to every session. Rob would never have discovered how much golf had to offer him without programmes like ours. He’s so grateful for the support and new purpose we’ve given him.
It’s a perfect example of how a game that is regarded as too difficult for most people can be enjoyed when the right encouragement, coaching and support is made available.
We now have three “hole in one acers” in our golfing family and I’m sure there will be more joining them in the years ahead.
And finally, here’s a great photo of Rob and Brenda celebrating their incredible achievement. Priceless memories.
This article was recently featured by the National Carers Association in their newsletter that goes to over 2000 people involved in the independent care sector. I hope you enjoy the read.
Dementia is a growing crisis in society. In this special report, we look at Anthony Blackburn, social entrepreneur and the founder of Golf in Society and explain his efforts to make a difference in the lives of people living with dementia and Parkinson’s disease by using the unique attractions of golf.
Every Thursday morning for the last three years, light permitting, Anthony Blackburn has headed out first thing to play nine holes of golf at Lincoln Golf Centre.
Later on that morning he and his team will welcome a bunch of eager recipients to one of his dementia focused golf sessions. After his nine holes, he goes to his car office and prepares another day of development for his social enterprise – Golf in Society. He has approximately two hours, (depending on how he has played his round) to not only make early contact with the ever growing myriad of partners and stakeholders involved in his project but is also mindful of who his attendees are that morning and what he needs to do to make their day special. Lincoln is just one of his centres of excellence.
Moving off the tee
With an impressive care background and equally inspirational approach to people living with dementia and Parkinson’s disease, Anthony has no truck with people who have to live with these conditions being told that their golfing lives are over. He believes that too many golf clubs have turned their backs on members who have spent a lifetime supporting them and its an attitude that has to change. He states “Gone are the days of waiting lists for most clubs and if clubs realised their investments in these lapsed members, they would be contributing to the social good for their locality”.
Anthony even has many examples of clients who had never hit a golf ball before. Put simply, we golfers are all aware of those precious moments when we are playing golf, that we fool ourselves into thinking we know exactly what we are doing with body, club and ball and it feels great but we also know it won’t last too long. He decided that by using golf, he was going to help people feel that moment when perhaps they had forgotten it was possible ever to do so again.
As a carer, he has always looked for ways of providing mental and physical stimulation to make his clients’ days better and whilst he still uses golf to unwind for himself, (we all do don’t we?) he realised that there was absolutely no reason why people with so called limited cognitive skills couldn’t be helped to maintain them or, who knows, get them back? It wasn’t exactly a light bulb moment but certainly it was akin to finding not one but maybe two brand new ProV1’s nestling together in the rough. We all know what that means. A quick look round for errant tee shots and they’re in the bag.
Food for thought.
There are seven stages to dementia. Why do you, the reader, need to know this?
Here are some surlyn proof facts for you. Current statistics are that there are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. In addition, it is estimated by the Alzheimer’s Society that 45% of people who are likely to have the condition, haven’t been diagnosed yet. For reasons of guilt, denial, ignorance and other circumstances.
There are no grey areas with dementia. If it is part of your life either as somebody living with it, or as a carer, it dominates every aspect of your daily living. The chances are that if you haven’t come across the condition on a personal or professional level, you have no idea what that entails.
Such is the emotional turmoil the condition engenders, there are many health experts calling for national minimum wages for family member carers. This might have something to do with the estimation that it costs the government £1.2 billion in lost taxes and making social care payments to people who are cheaper than the NHS and care homes, but it seems some greens are difficult to read easily.
But just to get back to the figures momentarily, imagine that for every one of those 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, there are at least another six people (family members and professionals) involved in their care programmes either directly or indirectly. Add in the undiagnosed, and you have at least nine million people in the UK trying to get on the first tee. With 15% of our population dedicated to dealing with dementia, it’s a fair assumption that a similar percentage are members of golf clubs, or used to be. Given the age profiles for a lot of clubs, the chances are that they are higher. There is a growing body of clinical evidence that shows that the early longer gestation periods of dementia (stages one to four) can be increased by good diet, a level of regular exercise and plenty of mental stimulation. Golf and Health’s outstanding installations at this year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie is a green light as to how the medical industry is beginning to approach the situation for our elder citizens.
There is unlikely to be a clinical cure for dementia for at least two decades. That’s going to be too late for the people needing help now and for some time to come.
Whilst cancer research receives ten times the investment versus finding the answer for curing dementia and Parkinson’s (and all power to its elbow for their extraordinary success rate in treatments), it is likely that we are on our own in dealing with the day to day lifestyles we have to adopt for our family members. Who’s listening?
But it’s not just the medical industry that buys into what Golf in Society is doing. Over the last two years, Anthony has developed working relationships with the European Tour, England Golf, Rudding Park GC, Lincoln Golf Centre, Mearns Castle Golf Academy near Glasgow, the Golf & Health project, Life Changes Trust, UnLtd, Howard Swann at Golf Business International and the Alzheimer’s Society. All these organisations recognise the opportunities that exist to make lives better for people living with dementia and Parkinson’s and also that there are business benefits to be had for all if the fourteen clubs in the bag are clean and ready for use.
There is another analogy to make here. The putter and the carer. Officially, your putter should be taking care of about 40% of the shots in your round. If you are living with dementia, you depend on your carer totally. The carer, very often a family member, is the one club in your bag that you can’t do without, day or night. But when Anthony runs his sessions, he supplies a new putter that enables the weary putter some time to recuperate and recharge the batteries for the inevitable crazy putting course later on in the day.
In an encouraging development recently, our new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Holland, has pledged £4.5 million to the concept of social prescribing by general practitioners. This idea has been around for a number of years now, and GP’s recognise the benefits of using social prescribing in dealing with their workload and helping their patients. The media announced the news with main headlines of people getting involved in gardening and cookery courses to help avoid being prescribed drugs to alleviate their symptoms and in general just using common sense to “feeling better”. Many of these sorts of courses take time (and money) to set up but with golf and the available facilities all over the UK, all you have to do is just pitch up and hit the ball. Feedback and the future
Anthony sees golf as a perfect addition to these various activities and is passionate about the effects he sees day in day out with his Golf in Society “Golf Days Out” sessions. Here are just a few examples of the sort of feedback he receives: “I can’t get him to a day centre, but I can’t stop him coming here”, “He’s happier and he’s more relaxed so I’m more relaxed, it’s priceless from my point of view to see him happy and doing something because he was always so active” and “They help each other on the golf course so you have this chap with dementia helping another chap with dementia….. they know how each other feels”. A further comment really hit home to Anthony recently from Alan at Lincoln Golf Centre…. “I remember now why I enjoy golf so much”. Obviously it was nothing to do with the fact that he had just won the monthly Texas Scramble competition. Pure joy from Alan. Strike a chord with anybody?
Danny Walsh, Senior Lecturer (Mental Health Nursing) at the University of Lincoln chips in with his views “This is a marvellous initiative, which is likely to make a significant and very positive impact upon the lives of those people living with dementia and their carers who take part in it. The University is proud to be evaluating this venture from an academic and medical point of view, but I have seen the pleasure and grins on the faces of the participants and that’s about as good an evaluation as you can get”.
Anthony’s plans are ambitious and like the good caddies out there who know their charges well, they are infectious to those around him. He is currently applying through the relevant government departments to start a trial of local GP’s near his assigned centres of excellence to encourage social prescribing. Training programmes are being prepared for clubs to not only be dementia friendly but run his courses on a regular basis for lapsed members or any local residents who fancy some easy cost effective respite. A policy of adult safeguarding is being prepared to help clubs instigate his programmes and he is well aware of the potential financial implications for clubs that adopt Golf in Society policies. The blueprint that can be created to facilitate a network of “age-friendly” golf clubs throughout the UK already exists and surely it’s just a matter of time before we see his concept at clubs everywhere.
A bit like defibrillators possibly? The importance of holing out well
Throughout his caring career, Anthony has always believed in the old notion of treating people as you would expect to be. His team are reminded regularly to treat their clients as if they were helping their own fathers or grandfathers and he believes it’s an approach that pays off in all his sessions.
As he states, ” I see golf leading the way in person-centred sports coaching for people living with dementia and Parkinson’s and from what I have experienced in the growth of the concept, it’s the utter joy of not only the participants but also their carers, many of whom rely on our sessions to keep them sane”. This is not an understatement.
The cathartic nature of getting involved in the fearful world of dementia is demonstrated by the thousands of people worldwide who have had personal experience of it and are now leaders all over the world in social care with their research and knowledge on the subject and are keen to make sure their stories are told to help others. Mr Blackburn senior was a great judge of pace and direction when it came to his putting and Anthony uses his Dad’s putter all the time because he knows it gives him inspiration in the dark arts of the wand. It’s no accident that he is a very good putter. A fact about which he is extremely proud.
If you, your club or anybody you know needs help or further information about Golf in Society and its mission for the future, visit http://www.golfinsociety.com . Alternatively, call Anthony on 07491 694938. He’s very happy to take your call and if you have to leave a message, it’s probably because he has a club in his hand and is chatting to somebody who needs some help. Or he could be reminiscing about his Dad on the practice putting green.
It’s taken a long time to get golf onto the health agenda of policy makers. Today we finally got a great mention during “Health Questions” in Parliament.
A few weeks ago I was invited by the golf & health project to present our work to health minister Steve Brine at Wentworth. Steve was very impressed with our project, especially how we had engaged successfully with vulnerable adults and people who had never considered playing golf.
It was great to get the chance to prove how golf can be used to facilitate healthy ageing, especially in families touched by dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
At a time when policy makers are looking for new ways to integrate health and social care and keep our ageing population living well for longer, it was the perfect opportunity to prove how golf can play it’s part.
Our SINGLE INTERVENTION addresses at least FOUR SOCIAL CHALLENGES, cutting across four government agendas, health, social, community and sport.
To be more specific…
Our three hour golf sessions improve physical, mental and social wellbeing whilst providing carers with priceless respite support. At present it would take at least four separate interventions to deliver the support that we provide in a single one.
Our single intervention is a fraction of the cost of the current health & care interventions available to families and it delivers higher quality, longer-lasting outcomes..
This is why we are so proud to be proving the power of using golf to facilitate healthy ageing, especially at a time when new thinking and radical approaches are needed to solve the social timebombs facing local communities…
Two years ago as a caregiver, I was visiting one of my Parkinson’s clients in Harrogate. Whilst getting him ready to go to his exercise class I was chatting with his wife. Somehow we got onto the topic of my social enterprise and the work we had started in Lincoln with our dementia golf days. She asked me ” Have you ever thought about doing something similar for people with Parkinson’s ?”
Talk about a “light bulb moment”. I’d never even considered testing whether golf could have the same positive impact on people with Parkinson’s. Shortly afterwards we decided to approach a local golf club to see whether there was an appetite for a Parkinson’s pilot. The answer was a resounding “yes”.
In partnership with Rudding Park Golf Club (Harrogate), the local Parkinson’s branch and a few golfing volunteers, we arranged the first golf session in April 2016. The rest as they say is history as the sessions have proved to be a resounding success.
It seems more than a co-incidence that on World Parkinson’s Day in April it will be two years to the days since we started the pilot. It’s been an inspirational two years and proved what a powerful therapy golf can be for people with Parkinson’s.
So why have the golf sessions been so popular?
Apart from the obvious benefits of physical exercise, the sessions have offered people the chance to learn new skills, meet new people, share experiences, build friendships and raise their self-esteem.
One of our Parkinson’s golfers said the reason she loved the sessions so much was that “no-one is judgemental, everyone is positive and I’m achieving things I never thought I was capable of”.
This is what you get when you treat someone as an individual, spend time teaching them the key skills they need to enjoy golf, offer encouragement and patience and set realistic goals that everyone can achieve. Oh, and by the way, when you MAKE IT FUN TOO.
As well as continuing with our fortnightly golf days, the year ahead will see some of the golfers we’ve coached progress their “golfing careers” at other local courses, where they will be given the opportunity and support to further develop their skills and golfing friendships.
None of this would have been possible without the fantastic support of Rudding Park, their members and some amazing people with Parkinson’s who refuse to “give in” to the disease, still wanting to enjoy a full and active life for as long as possible.
Way back in 2016 when we began one of our Parkinson’s golfers arrived in a wheelchair. Two years on he now walks around the course unaided and enjoys his golf as much as the rest of us.
This is just one of the many personal success stories in what has been an inspirational journey…. and we’re not finished yet!
According to current predictions there’s a ONE in THREE chance that everyone over 65 will develop dementia. The average life expectancy once diagnosed with dementia is seven years.
Now here’s the question, If you only had seven years left to live how would you spend them?
Hopefully you’re one of the lucky ones that lives a long, happy and healthy life beyond 65. Even if you do, the chances are that a family member or friend will not be so lucky.
The reality is that everyone in society will be touched by dementia in years to come. With no cure on the horizon, dementia is the disease that is set to tear more families apart than cancer ever did.
Dementia does not discriminate.
In the last two years I’ve helped many families cope with this devastating disease. So many lessons have been learnt. Each week is a rollercoaster of emotions. You feel proud to have helped, upset that you can’t do more, and tearful that the families you’re helping are seeing their loved ones fade away, becoming a shadow of the person they once knew.
However, there is some light at the end of the very dark dementia tunnel.
Medical experts are striving for a cure. Society is finally waking up to the dementia time-bomb and better support services are evolving, albeit far too slowly.
With our dementia support, we take the view that we can’t cure people but we can make them feel very special when we’re with them.
The key to achieving this is making sure you let people enjoy the things they’ve loved doing throughout their lives. Enjoying favourite pastimes, socialising with their mates, meeting people who genuinely care about them, makes the world of difference to their outlook on life.
To do this properly you need to get to the heart of what “sparks people into to life”. Discovering people’s positive life experiences takes time, compassion and patience. However, when you get to the heart of “what makes each person tick” you can start to plan a more enjoyable and rewarding future for them.
Getting to know the real person behind their dementia is crucial. It allows you to tailor your support to each person, making them feel special and valued. It’s probably the main reason our dementia golf sessions have proved so successful. Knowing that you have created a weekly highlight, something to look forward to, a positive experience as well as raising the self-esteem in a dementia life is extremely rewarding work.
Unfortunately this person-centred and liberating approach to dementia support is sadly lacking across the UK. So often services are DELIVERED AT rather than DESIGNED FOR people.
Not everyone likes singing, dancing, flower arranging, painting, sport, crosswords or puzzles. Why we start forcing people to do things they don’t enjoy, and have never liked doing throughout their lives is beyond me. I wouldn’t thank you for taking me to a community centre for a craft class. I’d rather watch paint dry!!
As a result I’ve started to think about the moment when I may be diagnosed with dementia.
I don’t fear this moment. However, how will people know what I enjoy, where I like to go, my dreams, my ambitions and my wishes for my future with dementia? These thought-provoking questions have inspired me to start preparing my own DEMENTIA WILL.
Whilst I’m still in charge of my own destiny and have the mental capacity to make my own decisions, I’ve started sharing my dementia will with my friends and family.
So here it is….
Play golf most days
Play all the golf courses on my bucket list
Socialise with my mates over a pint and discuss all the sporting news
Subscription to sporting channels so I can watch all the major sporting events
Let me live independently for as long as possible
Treat me with dignity and respect
Only surround me with positive people
DO NOT PUT ME IN A CARE HOME
It’s very simple, very clear and easy to deliver. However, as a dementia care plan it’s not currently available.
This is one of the main reasons we are so passionate and determined to create dementia friendly golf resorts where people can continue to enjoy “a sporting life” – even when this terrible disease tries to get in the way.
Whilst we can’t design support programmes for everyone, hopefully our work will inspire others to create similar services that meet the “dementia wishes” of more people later in life.
And finally… give some thought to sharing your own dementia will… it may give you a better chance of doing the things you’ve always enjoyed, even if a dementia diagnosis comes your way…
When buying products and services, we all like to be treated as an individual whose custom is genuinely appreciated by the company we purchase from..
There’s no reason to expect any less when arranging care for our loved ones… but we do.
Person-centred care is considered by most health and social care stakeholders to be the best way to help our “Golden Generation” enjoy healthy ageing.
There are few that would disagree, especially as our elderly population continues to develop more complex health issues as they grow older.
There’s much rhetoric on the importance of person-centred care. However, the challenge remains on how best to deliver it. The main issue appears to be the lack of necessary resources – both human and financial. These issues will remain as existing services get stretched to breaking point as demand increases.
There are many well established health care organisations with excellent infrastructures, systems & procedures in place and experienced people running them. However, they do not have sufficient personalised care services within their portfolios to meet the needs of our ageing population.
At the same time an amazing range of micro-care services that put elderly people and their families at the heart of everything they do is emerging. Social Entrepreneurs are leading this movement and proving how person-centred care can be delivered and produce spectacular, cost-effective outcomes.
The biggest challenge facing Social Entrepreneurs is the lack of infrastructure, robust systems & procedures to support them in making their social dream a reality. They often work alone and have to manage all aspects of their enterprise. At times this can be overwhelming and can lead to the passion for their idea dwindling.
So here’s an idea…. Why don’t the giants of healthcare forge strong partnerships with emerging micro-services?
The results would be there for all to see…. a refreshing range of person centred care services, tailored to meet the needs of local communities, delivered by compassionate, professional people, supported by the infrastructure and resources of large care organisations. This would lead to more families being able to select the right care package for their loved ones.
This has got to be the way forward if we are genuinely serious about person-centred care.