What began as a modest blog with an ambition to share some of the experiences (mostly positive) that we'd had with my dad during his 19 years with vascular dementia has taken on a life of its own, and despite all of my other work which arguably takes up more of my time now, I am still known very much as a 'blogger' and proud to be so.
As I've come to learn since 2012, blogging has an important role to play in dementia care and support. This blog has enabled me to share experiences that I would otherwise never have shared, and because it's freely available to anyone with a device and an internet connection it reaches people across the UK and beyond, something I couldn't do consistently through any other media.
I've learnt from tracking my audience that the posts you all like the most are the ones that give really practical advice, and if anything I'm mindful that I need to write more of those in the future. Helping people who are affected by dementia has always been my prime motivation in everything I do, and my blogging is perhaps the most accessible way that I can do that.
I also know from feedback that this blog is as loved by people living with dementia and their families and friends as it is professionals who, despite the raised profile of dementia and the increased focus on dementia training, still look to the internet to provide them with the information, advice and support that they need to do their jobs to the very best of their ability.
Amongst the millions of words I must have written for this blog, experience has taught me that some are more powerful than others. Sometimes a really punchy quote shared via social media is what ensures a blog post reaches the people it really needs to. It may be because the words express something that a person feels but cannot express themselves, the sensation of solidarity or comfort in what they've read, or because a quote sparks a thought or action that, ultimately, improves a service for people who are living with dementia and their families/carers.
So, in the spirit of sharing that's associated with this Christmassy time of year, here are some quotes from 5 of my 200 blog posts that give a glimpse into the passions behind my work:
“Everything my dad went through is there to inform, educate and influence others – I believe he would have wanted to make a real and lasting difference, and I hope that will be his legacy.” From ‘My dad’.
“If you had to be isolated, unsupported and fight the system, would you apply to be an unpaid carer?” From ‘The carer’s job description’.
“Dementia takes so much from a person, but anyone who treats an adult like a child takes far more.” From ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T’.
“Above all else, remember this: care homes are for caring, prisons are for punishment.” From ‘From care to catastrophe’.
“The only true representation of each person’s unique experience of living with a diagnosis of dementia is from that person themselves. Anything else is a substitution.” From ‘Why don’t we listen to people with dementia?’
So, what next for D4Dementia? Given the growth in other areas of my work I've decided to abandon my strict fortnightly Monday publishing regime and be a little more unpredictable in my blog posting. There will be at least one blog a month, but beyond that, I reserve the right to be spontaneous, not least because this gives me the option to react to news stories in a much more timely way. To make sure you never miss a blog, sign up to receive them into your inbox (you can do this via the box near the top of every page of D4Dementia) or follow me on Twitter or Facebook.
As a result of my new routine (or rather throwing the routine out of the window!), it will probably take me a little longer to reach my next milestone of 300 posts (my 100th blog was published on 13 November 2013), but I have every intention of reaching that magic 300 and going beyond it. Will I run out of things to write? I doubt it!
Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Thank you for your amazing support in 2016 - Here’s looking forward to 2017!
Until next time...
Until next time...
You can follow me on Twitter: @bethyb1886