If You Were in My Shoes
Available from Ullswater Publications, 9, Milton Crescent,
Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 1SP
ISBN 0 95 14616 7 2
Price £30 plus £1.50 p&p
This is a paper-based training pack designed to help staff
working with elderly people in residential and nursing homes.
It uses poems and related exercises to promote discussion about
the experience of being an elderly person in a residential setting.
In particular, it focuses on some of the emotional aspects of
residential life and provides a useful counterbalance to any
tendency to regard working in such a care setting as simply a set
of practical tasks.
In this respect, the pack has much to commend it in promoting an
emphasis on elderly people as people.
However, what worried me about the pack is its failure to
address anti-discriminatory practice.
There appears to be little or no consideration of how issues of
race, culture or language could be major factors for many
residents, or how gender stereotypes could be operating.
Indeed, even the question of developing anti-ageist practice is
not explicitly addressed or adequately developed. It is
disappointing, for example that, despite the now well-established
criticisms of the use of depersonalising terms such 'the elderly'
to describe a group that is far from homogeneous, this term is used
a number of times without any apparent sensitivity to the potential
of language to reinforce patterns of discrimination and
Overall, this pack is not without value, but its neglect of
discrimination and inequality seriously limits its potential for
promoting good practice in working with elderly people in
residential and nursing homes.
Professor Neil Thompson teaches at the school of health and
community studies, North East Wales Institute and is the author of
Age and Dignity: Working with Older People.