Anna Gaughan, CEO of Life Story Network highlights how growing a UK-wide network, tide – together in dementia everyday, is ensuring that a more diverse range of carers of people living with dementia are using their caring expertise to influence dementia policy, research and practice.
One of the many strengths of the tide network is that it does not provide support services to people living with dementia and so its members can give completely impartial and independent feedback based solely on their lived experiences as carers. Their direct experience must be used as a litmus test to measure whether polices are actually making a real difference in the day to day lives of either carers themselves or the people they are caring for.
This is only the beginning and whilst we have accomplished a great deal since our inception two years ago, we are committed to building and strengthening tide (as the go to network), enabling us to achieve the much needed cultural change, where carers of people living with dementia are fully involved and their contribution is resourced, valued and respected.
This requires a significant change in attitude, thinking and behaviour amongst many professionals and a commitment to ensuring that the systems and processes are in place to work with carers of people with dementia as equal partners.