I was delighted to attend the formal launch of Men’s Sheds Cymru recently, a project designed to bring together men (particularly, but not exclusively, older men) across Wales and provide an informal, friendly setting for men to socialise and learn from each other.
This week my blog focuses on the difference that kindness and care can make to the care that people receive. All too often we hear words like targets, systems, budgets and services when people talk about care, but the words that we don’t hear enough of, the things that often make a real difference, are words like kindness, care, compassion and love.
This week I was delighted to visit Care and Repair Torfaen and Monmouthshire to find out more about the excellent work they do to help older people stay safe, healthy and independent in their homes. I’m therefore pleased to welcome guest blogger Chris Jones, Care and Repair Cymru’s Chief Executive, discussing the vital role that housing plays in people’s health and wellbeing, as well as the challenges ahead and the opportunities for change in Wales.
When I took up post last year as the second Older Peoples Commissioner for Wales, I promised to be an independent voice and champion for older people, standing up and speaking out on their behalf...
Today my Engagement Roadshow took me to Powys, where I spent time meeting with the team that operate Newtown’s Dial-a-Ride minibus, a hugely valuable service, which helps older people stay independent and live happy, fulfilled lives. From speaking to the Dial-a-Ride team, the message from the people who use the service is clear: the Dial-a-Ride service is quite simply a lifeline in the community.
I was delighted, earlier this week, to speak at the launch of a new guide for working with older lesbian, gay and bisexual people from Stonewall Cymru and give my support to the outstanding work that they do.
When I took up post as Older People’s Commissioner last year, I made it clear that I would be a Commissioner for all older people and that my work would be driven by older people’s voices in all their diversity.
In the next twenty years the number of people living with a cancer diagnosis in Wales is set to rise from 120,000 to almost a quarter of a million. As half of all new cases of cancer in the UK are diagnosed in people aged 70 or over, this will have a significant impact on the number of older people living with and beyond cancer in Wales.
This week I visited a fantastic care home in Ammanford that supports and cares for people who have a dementia. I have spoken extensively about how we need to improve the way in which we support people with a dementia and seeing this wonderful practice in action showed me just how good we can be when we get it right.
A New Year, always a good time, I think, to stop and take a few moments to reflect. When I was appointed six months ago, I had a number of early priorities. I wanted to give a voice back to older people and I wanted to make sure, that they knew that they had a Commissioner who would be a strong voice and a strong, independent champion for them.
So Christmas is nearly with us, a frantic busy time of year for many, but for some it’s the loneliness time of year.
I have spoken and blogged repeatedly since I took up post in June about the devastating impact of loneliness and isolation on older people. I’ve done so for one simple reason: I’ve met so many people as I’ve been out and about across Wales who have told me that what they wanted most in the world was a little friendship, contact with others and to have someone to care for and be cared by.