Tuesday, 17 July 2012

How to find a good care home

I've been a care home manager and I've also been an activities coordinator and I may get a lot of stick for saying this - but these are the two most important jobs in a care home. If one of them doesn't exist or both of the posts don't then I would be worried in selecting a care home however clean and spotless it looked with its beautiful decor. So go and visit the care home, after checking that the manager and activities coordinator posts exist. Visit at different times of day so you can see what happens - I suggest 8am, 1pm and 5pm. You will see shocking things no doubt, unfortunately the state of care homes in this country is not good, but look at things pragmatically if you can. Unless you or your relative can afford thousands of pounds a week you will see people in their nightwear at 5pm, you will overhear what could be interpreted as patronising even offensive language being used towards residents, you may even witness people literally crying out for attention - in that situation, if it goes unheard for more than a couple of minutes I suggest you report it if you feel up to it, because if you are searching for a good care home, chances are you're not in a good place psychologically. In the UK or England at least there is the Care Quality Commission, which has been criticised for not having enough bite, in other words it is letting too many poor care homes slip through the net. It doesn't employ enough people for the job as care is now unfortunately seen as such a lucrative money-spinner, so there are thousands and thousands of care homes. But look on their website (which is very difficult to use unfortunately) and find the care home you are looking for, it will have a simple star rating. My third piece of advice is to look after yourself at this difficult time. Gather support from whatever person, book, course or professional you can. Grab on to anyone who is informative, helpful and supportive and speak to them again. Get some therapy - now's a very good time for it! If people do want personalised advice leave a comment at the bottom and I will try to get back to you.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

When I think 'I can't do this'

  • Have a break
  • Ask for help
  • Do something else
  • accept that you can't solve this problem at the moment and go back to other things
  • make a cup of tea
  • Email people
  • have a nap
  • go on a run or plan a trip to the gym
  • read favourite inspirational books
  • read how to write books

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Why I declared support for 'Care Not Killing' today

Last Tuesday I went to a truly uplifting and inspirational presentation at the University of Leeds by Age UK. It was inspiring because it enabled me to see the 'bigger picture' of where my dementia research might fit into the world. I've been getting a bit lost in the nitty gritty of the detail and it made me see there are millions of people out there, who I could help, because I am looking into the reasons why some people who get dementia seem to slip through the social support networks of friends and family. The presentation was also incredibly upbeat. Yes, we have an ageing population - and isn't that fantastic? I truly believe that it - human longevity - is the greatest achievement of science. It's wonderful that people born when I was born can expect to live a good twenty years longer than people born when our great grandparents were born. OK, there is inequality which we must also do something about, but the progress in us living longer is truly astounding.

I got into correspondence with Age UK, saying how much I enjoyed the presentation and they asked me if I would consider blogging for them about my research, or related topics. And it made me think 'what can I blog about?' My research is in its infancy - in a way I am overwhelmed by what I feel we don't know. I don't feel in a position to start broadcasting to the world on my findings so far - there aren't any. But I feel passionately about a number of things that are related to ageing, one of those things is opposition to 'Dignitas'. I am sick of hearing about what a 'burden' older people are. Then I saw this article in the Telegraph today basically saying what a huge resource our pensioners are. Feeling I had to act with my feet to help say to older people 'you're worth it!' I then signed the declaration of support for Care not Killing. But I suppose I would support that wouldn't I? To expect anything less would be like expecting turkeys to vote for Christmas.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

How to diffuse 'PhD Panic'

  • talk to people
  • write lists
  • lipsyl
  • frankinscence oil
  • Read
  • Write
  • Think of Five Amazing Things - write them down (Count your blessings)
  • This;  is not a matter of life and death.  This is a PhD.  That's all.
  • Plan work as a project.
  • Break down topic or problem into doable tasks.  Put timescales on each task.
  • Get a sense of perspective. 
  • Go on a walk.
  • Have a short break
  • Remember your PhD is a journey, like any of life's journeys, it will have its ups and downs.  Appreciate the contours. 
  • When you get a breakthrough, write it down.
  • Remember this is a three year training position - the whole thing is you are getting trained.
  • Re-read what your supervisor has written to you.
  • And then re-read it again.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Top ten writing tips when you've just had a supervision

1) Prioritise : remember 1) health 2) family 3) PhD
2) Freewrite
3) Time yourself freewriting - and write this at the bottom of your work
4) Background reading for half an hour
5) Freewrite for 5 minutes on what you've just read
6) share your writing - present it to friends and family to help you learn it
7) write down learning points/academic arguments to discuss with supervisor at next supervision
8) plan training for the month
9) plan your main pieces of writing
10) schedule in freewriting time over the next week, at a time when you are most productive

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Writing tips when you haven't got much time to write

Break down tasks into doable chunks - how long will each task take?
Are you saying what you want to say?
Are your findings telling us what we know?
Spend one minute only on a particular task - then tick it off your list so you feel like you've accomplished something
Tick off a sentence when you are happy with it
Tick off a paragraph
use a thesaurus
Correct your typos
Re-read your favourite sections to help keep you motivated
Schedule enough time to do it, at a time when you are most productive
Re-read documents, if you're having problems motivating yourself re-read your best received work
Do some background reading of study skills and writing books
Get help
Listen to feedback
Book yourself on writing courses
Use dictation machine
Use positive self talk methods - 'My writing is improving and I am writing more productively each day'

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Advice from mentor on how to pass Transfer

- passing transfer is very important, need to know on right track
- Devise a Gantt Chart
- Devise a Action Plan
- Devise a Time-Table
- Do additional reading over Easter Holidays
- Ensure in agreement with supervisor on academic issues
- Become ideal student

Friday, 13 January 2012

How to end the day's writing

  • Always end on a positive
  • Write a list
  • Read the introduction
  • tidy desk
  • read favourite writers - Kitwood, Downs, Bartlett, Ballenger, Journal of Clinical Ethics
  • Read MA