My Dementia Awareness Week 2016

dementia

This last week has been my busiest week since I launched my book on dementia titled “Unbreakable Bond.”

The week actually started last Friday when I recorded an interview with Pirate FM, one of the biggest commercial radio stations in the South West. This interview went out on Monday and you can listen to it here:

http://www.piratefm.co.uk/blogs/wheres-your-head-at/unbreakable-bond/

Then on Monday, ITV Westcountry filmed a feature on dementia with me, which aired across the southwest on Tuesday evening:

http://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/update/2016-05-18/dementia-fears-preventing-people-from-seeing-gps/

On Wednesday I was invited by Alzheimer’s Society South West to speak at the Cornwall Dementia Action Alliance Partnership Launch at the Royal Cornwall Showground.

This was all off the back of being published in “The Journal of Dementia Care” last week.

The best thing about being this busy, is the number of people I am being able to touch and impact with my story, as that is what it is all about. Thanks to all these media companies and charities I can touch more people than I can by myself and I appreciate every one of them.

Inspirational

I have met some very inspirational people this week and heard a lot of personal stories about how dementia has affected them. If it wasn’t for Dementia Awareness Week I may not have heard these stories or been touched by them and it has been so important to me to hear them. So often in life we get caught up in our own lives and problems, but hearing from other people gave me insight and perspective, which was really appreciated.

Thanks to everyone I have worked with this week, with the raised media profile, my book “Unbreakable Bond” made it back to the top of the bestseller charts. This wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for everything that happened this week. It’s not for vanity that this is important but because the more books I sell, the more lives the story of my mum and I can help and that is what it is all about.

Proud

I hope my mum is proud of what has been accomplished this week and the fact that she can continue to play her part for years to come in helping people affected by dementia.

To find out more about my book and get a copy go to:

www.unbreakablebond.co.uk

Treasuring moments in life

Life can move at a pretty fast pace at times, if you couple this with the throwaway nature of todays society, it means that many amazing moments in life are too quickly forgotten and lost.

Feeling Valued

Yesterday I had a moment I want to treasure and hold on to. Yesterday in the mail I received a copy of ‘the Journal of Dementia Care’ one of the leading publications for dementia care professionals in the UK. In said journal there was an article by me that they had published. To get that recognition, to know that they valued my voice and my words to put me in it, was an incredible feeling and to be in a publication featuring articles from many professionals and big organisations in the field of dementia, was just mind blowing.

It got me thinking about the moments in my life recently that I want to treasure forever, like my daughter learning to pull herself up to her feet, or listening to my wife sing. I am so fortunate in my life to have so many moments I want to treasure, that I don’t want to forget them or take them for granted, as I know it is not the same for everyone.

Moments that are big to you

It is also important to not just treasure the big moments but the moments that are big to you. The moments that put a smile on your face and really bring joy to your heart, regardless of what they are, we need to live in a world where we have no shame in being proud of what we are proud of, not a world where we are made to feel little or less amazing than the next person because we choose to treasure different things.

A moment to treasure can get you through a tough day, tough week or tough year. The power of a moment to treasure is something, which we need to value and appreciate. These special moments can motivate you on to even bigger and better things in your life if you to choose to use them.

The good moments in life are the ones that give you hope in the bad times and make this life worthwhile. I am already excited for my next one and to when I can start looking back at all of them in later life, remembering the rich life experience I have had.

Keeping the ball rolling

It is now over a year since the launch of my book “Unbreakable Bond.” I am still as passionate as I was on launch day to get this book in to the hands of many people as possible. This has meant since early 2015 I have been keeping the ball rolling on the promotion of the book.

I have no promotion team or advertising budget, so every bit of attention I have to scrap for and I am willing to scrap. Every week I try to set aside a small manageable amount of time to dedicate to spreading the word about the book. It would have been so easy for me to just blitz the promotion at the start and then do nothing, but I think this slow and steady approach has paid dividends. I am seeing constant sales of the book and regular new avenues of promotion opening up.

Mental Health Foundation

It’s like this week the Mental Health Foundation featured a piece on my book, which was seen by thousands thanks to their social media promotion:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/stories/my-mum-and-i-unbreakable-bond

This has lead to the book getting back inside the Top 10 on Amazon for its category, which is amazing. With my hard work and the support of others this book isn’t fizzling out or going away, which I am immensely proud of.

Features

I also have features coming up later this year in the Dementia Care Journal (a leading Dementia publication) and some local radio stations. Even though each week there isn’t a new article somewhere about my book, there is always something going on behind the scenes.

At the moment I am building some great relationships with important and influential people in the dementia world, which I hope will lead to great fruit in the months and years to come. Publicising something is a game that you have to keep the right mind to each week. Some weeks you get lots of support and activity because of your work and some weeks you don’t but you need to work your hardest each week regardless of what the outcome is, as it is only by doing this that great results come.

I am forever thinking of and finding new ways to promote the book and I hope that for years to come that this book continues to be a relevant and a used tool to help people currently caring for people with dementia.

To buy my book or find out more about it go to www.unbreakablebond.co.uk

Raising hope

It seems to me at times like the world is full of people giving others false hope and raising their expectations unfairly.

A subject that is very close to my heart is dementia. For the last few years I have seen so many newspaper headlines about possible new cures or preventions for the condition, but still a universally available and used treatment seems to me, to be very far away. Don’t get me wrong I am very happy that people are researching it and trying to find a solution, I just wish it wasn’t plastered all over the news every time a possible breakthrough is found. I would just rather hear about it when a tested and proven treatment is found.

Promising the earth

Another thing I see in society a lot these days is people who will promise other people the earth without knowing if they can deliver what they said they have. It seems people are reckless with what they promise, as I have seen so many promise so much and deliver so little. I have been guilty of this too in the past, so now I am trying to be more realistic with what I can offer. I would rather offer little and deliver big than offer big and deliver little.

If someone promises something, it raises people hopes and people start thinking like it is already a done deal that those promises are going to happen. I think it is human nature sometimes to get ahead of ourselves and I think we need a culture change of how we react when people start promising things but more importantly we need a world where people stop promising things that they can’t guarantee.

Help others

I think hope is an important thing to have in life, as without hope, life can feel a little bleak at times. I hate when I see peoples hope taken advantage of or smashed to pieces when they are built up only to be brought down. A lot of my life is based on hope and I would be lost without it, so I want to do everything to keep mine whilst helping others to have hope and keep their hope.

My call to everyone reading my blog this week is to review the promises you make, think about others and be someone who delivers. Never forget how important it is to deliver on things and don’t just give up too easily, make your promises mean something and think about the people you are affecting when you don’t live up to your promises.

Sharing and impacting

Last Friday there was no blog on this site because I was away showcasing my book “Unbreakable Bond” at a dementia conference in Plymouth. At the conference I got to hear from the CEO of the Alzheimer’s Society Jeremy Hughes and from Angela Rippon OBE, but more importantly I got to talk to people at the coalface of caring and supporting people with dementia.

I listened to some of the speakers, I was sitting there just hoping my book could touch and impact people in the way they were impacting me. Not because I wanted to be on the stage, not because I want to be a big name, but because I know how it feels to be touched and inspired and it would mean the world to me if it was my book that was having that impact on others.

Learning from experience

When I was selling my book at the conference many people said they were going to put the book in to their libraries and staff rooms at work. Them saying that meant the world to me, as I want as many people to read the book as possible. I love conferences as I love getting the chance to speak to people who have read my book or brought a copy of my book. I wish I could speak to everyone who has brought my book, to thank them and to hear their story. I love people’s stories, I think we have so much to learn from each other and we need to put more focus on learning from other people’s experiences.

I think everyone has something important to share and I just hope that by me sharing my story it encourages others to share and to feel that they have something important to share, because everyone does. We can all learn from each other and something that really got me last week was the thought that the more I learn, the more I learn than I know so little. You can never know too much or enough, so please join my movement of people who want to learn from others and share with others.

Endorsement

I got to speak to Jeremy Hughes at the conference and he promised me that he was going to get my book out of the Alzheimer’s Society Knowledge Centre and I believe that he will. I hope he is touched by the book and that the Alzheimer’s Society can get behind it, because their support and Jeremy’s endorsement would really help get the book in to the hands of people who could be helped by it.

My book “Unbreakable Bond” is the book I wrote about the experiences of caring for my mum who was diagnosed with early onset dementia at the age of 51. The book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and many other great book stockists. To find out more go to:

www.unbreakablebond.co.uk

 

 

What do you stand for?

The majority of people on this planet have a voice and its up to each and every one of us how we use it. To me the important thing is that we all use it. Regardless of how big or small your voice, it should be used and used in the right way. Never forget that many little voices together can make a big noise.

If someone you knew were asked to say what you stood for, what do you think they would say? If you are passionate about something, do you let other people know? One way we make a difference and impact in this world is by letting others know how we feel and think. You are more powerful and influential than you think, your circle of friends and family will be affected by what you say and the way you think so make sure you do let them know what you think. Just by impacting one friend, which could then impact to their circle of friends and so on and so on.

Action

This weekend some friends of mine have organised a walk through the city of Plymouth to raise awareness of modern day slavery as part of a global effort to one day see an end of human trafficking. These guys saw injustice, were passionate about doing something to help and are making their voices heard. The great thing about this event is that it will see many people coming together in solidarity, in one voice, who will through their actions spread the news of human trafficking through their community.

As many on you who read this blog regularly will know I am passionate about improving dementia care and awareness around the world. If any of my friends were asked what I was passionate about, I hope that the main response that came back was something dementia related. The only way I am going to make sure that happens is by being bold, loud and outgoing with my thoughts and actions. I am proud to be making a stand for dementia and I would be even prouder to be recognised as someone that is making a difference in that area.

Power

Remember you don’t have to stand for what other people stand for. You don’t have to stand for what is popular but as the saying goes ‘if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.’ Never under estimate the power of your voice and your actions. Your voice and actions can be as loud and big as you want them to be. Don’t let anyone make you feel like your opinions don’t matter and that your voice can’t be heard.

Shining a Spotlight

Today leading national newspaper in the UK “The Independent” featured my story of caring for my mum (who had early onset dementia) in their dementia supplement to mark World Alzheimer’s Day. It is always a great honour and privilege when a media organisation with such a big platform features a story about you, especially for someone like me who isn’t a celebrity or in the news much.

Attention

My wife asked me a question last night asking if I liked being in the news for caring for my mum, which I thought was a very interesting question. It’s a tricky one for me because I didn’t care for my mum just so I could get recognition afterwards and I don’t want to be seen as a hero for doing something that I did because I thought it was the right thing to do. I don’t want anyone to think I am showing off or craving the attention that being featured in newspapers like this gains you. There are however many reasons why I like being in the news for caring for my mum and the book that I wrote about our story.

The first reason is I think that people who give up their lives to care for others need to be celebrated more, not only in the press but in our communities as well. Caring for someone is an amazing thing and as worthwhile, if not more worthwhile than a lot of people who get featured in the press on a regular basis for being a ‘celebrity.’ By celebrating carers it will encourage more people to become carers and make carers feel better about themselves, which can only be a positive thing.

Unnoticed

There are so many carers out there who go unnoticed and many who are reluctant to share their stories and it’s because of these people that I feel it is important that I share mine. I am quite media savvy, I am confident and am an ok writer, which makes it very easy for me to share my story. When I share my story with others, always in my mind are those that are going through tough times currently caring for others. My goal with my book that I have written is to help others and hopefully make someone else’s life a bit better, I keep that same goal in mind whenever I am speaking to the press or other organisations about my story.

Hope

The hope I have is that many people will read my story and be impacted by it. That they will be moved in to action and that it will help them in some way. As the population of this world continues to grow older I believe more and more will need to be ready to care for someone, so the best thing I can do to make a difference is help prepare as many people as possible.

I’m not a hero, I’m not a celebrity, I’m just an ordinary person like you but I think it is the ordinary everyday folk that make this world tick and are the ones who are doing amazing things without being noticed. The power to change this world isn’t just with the headline makers; it is with you and I.