Positive Risk-Taking & Dementia-Friendly Communities

JRF screenshotThe increasing incidence of dementia, and profile it is gaining in the public imagination, means that this is a condition that none of us can ignore. What role might a strengths approach have to play in the way we view people living with dementia? It is all too easy to see the negatives and deficits around someone living with dementia, and to remain oblivious to their capabilities and potential, as well as the supportive resources they have around them. Just because you have a particular label doesn’t mean you have lost all capacity to dream and desire a reasonable quality of life for yourself, as determined by you, not imposed on you by others. However, the so-called ‘community’ can become a progressively challenging place as cognitive capabilities decline.

‘Positive risk-taking’ is a concept well established by the Practice Based Evidence consultancy, and it applies equally to the risks a person living with dementia may wish to take, and to all of us who live in, work in and develop communities. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation commissioned a piece of work from a collaboration of Practice Based Evidence and the Mental Health Foundation to investigate how the concept of positive risk-taking may apply to the government initiative of developing dementia-friendly communities. The think piece is explored in the published ‘Viewpoint’ at the following link:

http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/how-can-positive-risk-taking-help-build-dementia-friendly-communities

“Those with dementia are still people and they still have stories and they still have character and they’re all individuals and they’re all unique. And they just need to be interacted with on a human level.” [Carey Mulligan].

Check out ‘Still Alice’ as a great portrayal of the tragic descent into dementia, and the impact on a wider family as well as the person living with the condition.

 

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Podcast Episode 095: A Funky Case Study

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2So, what does funky and creative working look like when you have to implement things through a team? It is one thing for a creative individual to plough their own furrow, but as soon as you get two or more people together the opportunity arises for three or more opinions on how to go about things!

In this episode I outline my consultancy work across 2000-2010 with an assertive outreach team that was based in Kettering, Northamptonshire. The vision was largely developed by the team manager, Sue Jugon, with reference to the training I undertook as part of the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. It requires careful recruitment, and the type of training and practice development support established at the time as the Practice Based Evidence consultancy.

What it looks like is a commitment to good clear communication, flexible working, and on-going reflection and developmental support. The outcomes were best reflected in the changes seen in what were deemed to be very challenging clients when you devote sufficient respectful time, and deliver client-centred working rather than overblown service rhetoric.

For the full content of this episode click the links to iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/095-a-funky-case-study/id867043694?i=361448998&mt=2

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” [Phil Jackson]

Podcast Episode 094: Making it funky

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2We spend so many hours, and restless nights, focused on work, so don’t we deserve to get enjoyment, fun and creative challenge in our work? Managerial structures, systems, procedures and processes are designed to achieve consistency and homogeneity of output. Monitoring and auditing of standards and targets keeps a watchful eye how we work. So, are we in danger of losing the pursuit of genuine creative endeavour? Where will positive risk-taking fit into this controlled picture?

In this episode I reflect on a review of a previous book I co-authored that identified our approach as ‘Funky Mental Health’. Funky ways of working are about working with and around the rules; breaking the rules in a creative rather than illegal way. It is about pushing the boundaries, but needs a few conditions to support it to happen. I outline how it needs a vision, a guide of what exceptional people do naturally, a flexible environment, and team-working. I also reference a classic example of putting all of this into practice from my Practice Based Evidence consultancy work.

For the full content of this episode click the links to iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/094-making-it-funky/id867043694?i=360203262&mt=2

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” [Scott Adams].