Getting out and about to other projects has been a really useful this month. Meetings with East London Dementia Care and Hackney and City’s Alzheimer’s Society enabled us to identify some of the barriers to ensuring individuals with dementia are aware of their end of life rights and ensuring staff feel able to support them. It seems that there is sometimes reluctance from staff to bring up the issue of end of life rights due to sensitivity issues. Choosing the appropriate time can also be tricky in terms of avoiding information overload. We are really looking forward to supporting stakeholders more generally to overcome some of these barriers through our training and information sessions.
We have also made contact with two other silver dreams projects – Subco which is enabling some of the most vulnerable Asian elders in the country to have better access to personalisation opportunities and The Terrance Higgins Trust who are supporting older people with HIV to cope better financially, become active citizens and manage life changing events. We hope that by sharing ideas and experiences we will all be able to learn from each other and possibly work together on some aspects of our projects.
We are continuing to work alongside the older people and volunteers across the boroughs. We know it is essential that older people are fully involved in the development of promotional material and to enable us to reach out to as many people as possible. Our steering and focus groups will help us get to grips with the more subtle tones of language and design used in promotional materials that can play a key role in engaging individuals, raising awareness and getting our messages across.
In terms of other developments, a draft training pack around End of Life Rights has been designed for Befrienders and Advocates. This aims to equip them with a thorough understanding of Advance Decisions and Lasting Power of Attorney in order to provide information (Befrienders) and Advocacy (Advocates). Training will take place in the beginning of January. We will also be working alongside existing volunteers in the delivery of training.
We will continue to work together with stakeholders, volunteers, older people and the wider community in East London in the development of the project and we look forward to sharing our experiences with you!
Verena Hewat, End of Life Rights Advocacy Project Developer