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Zach Moss 19 February 2014

A Celebration of Choice

We are currently organising an event to celebrate the work we have done over the past eighteen months in East London. It will be a chance to thank all those who have been working on the project so far and showcase our evaluation.

In the early stages of planning the celebration we were reminded of one of the first events we took part in almost exactly a year ago, when we ran a workshop on Advance Decisions and Health and Personal Welfare alongside staff from St Joseph’s Hospice.

There were many events going on the same day and our workshop happened to be scheduled at the same time as one on the internet – which was so oversubscribed they were borrowing chairs from our room! Inspite of this, our session ended up being very well received by those who attended, however the feedback we received was that many older people find it difficult thinking about end of life because the subject can be too depressing. We left the session realising that we had we obviously had a big task ahead of us over the next year!

Much has changed since then, by working alongside our older people’s steering group and gathering ongoing feedback we have continued to adapt our approach and the tone of our sessions according to the needs of the people we are trying to engage and the advice of older people.

By focusing on the value statement in our Advance Decision form in some of our trainings this has turned the emphasis to what sort of things are most important in an individual’s life. This has often led to a lot of laughter about around certain future wishes such as ‘banning’ particularly annoying relative that they would definitely not want to visit them if they lost capacity! It has also resulted in participants thinking deeply about what and who they value in their life right now, including the power to make choices for themselves. Rather than leaving people depressed this has left people feeling uplifted and empowered.

As always when planning a big event we sought the advice of our steering group.   Their experiences have been invaluable over the past 12months in developing our project and helping us to set up events.  And on this occasion our steering group have told us that they would like our event in April to be fun and positive.

Our Pilot Project Steering GroupSo we’ve decided we would like it not only a celebration of the great progress we have made so far in terms of reaching those who may have chosen not to attend our workshop last year, but also a celebration of life, of how lucky we are to be able to have a choice in the way we are treated in our last years of it, and how important it is to make these choices clear.

We have provisionally booked the 8th April for this great event, and details of the venue and afternoon programme will be shared soon.   As well as our volunteers we plan to invite many of the older people and community stakeholders who have benefited from the project.   If you would like to also join us then do let us know using the contact form below.

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