A better life for older people with high support needs

The winners of Community Care’s Inspiring Images of Social Care competition are championing a better quality of life for older people

Pic credit: Jo Hanley photography

‘Old age is not about ‘them’, it’s about all of us’ says the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, winners of Community Care’s second Inspiring Images of Social Care photo competition.

The Foundation, which campaigns for social equality, has recently undertaken a programme of work to improve the quality of life for older people and the winning image is part of a series of portraits taken as part of the A Better Life project.

The project has involved working with older people with high support needs to collect their perspectives of ageing.

Emma Daniels, marketing and events officer at JRF, said: “We wanted to capture strong, positive images of these groups of people.

“We decided to enter this year’s competition as we felt we had produced some award-winning photography which portrayed an inspiring image of older people.”

Agnes and James, the stars of the winning entry, are from the Scottish Dementia Working Group, one of the organisations commissioned to take part in the research. Chair and Vice Chair respectively, both Agnes and James have a diagnosis of dementia, and have worked extensively to tackle the stigma surrounding the condition, representing the working group at national and international conferences. In 2011, James received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list for his service to people with dementia.

Jo Hanley, photographer, said: “James and Agnes and their dementia team had such a lovely dynamic. It was an inspiring collection to work on, meeting people across the country who were ageing on their own terms and not letting any age related issues break their stride.”

The working group is part of Alzheimer Scotland and each of its members has a diagnosis of some form of dementia. The group has campaigned to achieve significant policy changes in the country since 2001, as well as providing support and friendship to people living with dementia.

Jim Pearson, deputy director of policy at Alzheimer Scotland, said: “Agnes and James are wonderful examples of people living well with dementia and are an inspiration to others, as well as a challenge to society’s perception of people with dementia.

“Jo Hanley’s picture has captured their sense of fun to perfection and is a deserving winner.”

Hanley added: “The Scottish Dementia Working Group is a very supportive group, and the act of helping each other did wonderful things for their physical mental and emotional health.

“It was a pleasure and a privilege to work with them and I was delighted when I heard that JRF had won the competition.”

The outcomes of the A Better Life research have since been used to develop programmes for dementia, everyday support in neighbourhoods and care homes, and quality of care.

To view all the winning entries in Community Care’s Inspiring Images of Social Care photo competition click here.

 

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