Arc Seven Blog Archive - October 2015


Living with the kids won’t save social care Posted by: Alistair Clay | 20.10.15

In a recent newspaper interview the new Care Minister Alistair Burt made it crystal clear that state funded elderly care for all is a thing of the past.

Commentating on the constraints of tax payer-funded care services he said: “I have no hesitation in saying I don’t think the state is going to be able to cover this.

“This needs a new bargain and partnership between the people and the state. The earlier that partnership begins, the better.”

Mr Burt hinted that the future was likely to consist of many more multi-generational homes and that more people will probably have mum or dad living with them at some stage in the future.

(more…)

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Age is just a number after all… Posted by: Arc7Admin | 20.10.15

By Esme Davies

I’m the new kid on the block at Arc Seven; a fresh faced intern, just out of school, with aspirations expanding wildly as I discover, wide eyed at my desk, the hidden world behind the media. I’m 19 and believe, as have many teenagers before me, that life is what you make of it.

The last few years have seen my interest in fashion grow thanks to trendy youth culture and social media. I’m embracing the world of fashion as fully as I can, because we’re not young forever, and being trendy has a time limit, right?

Or am I just saying this because I’m part of a generation that fears age, and hopes for medical revolution to save us from it? I grew up in a way that differs vastly from my grandparents childhood, and the generation divide between the old and the young is clear. There seems to be an ageist stereotype that suggests age is an unfashionable and negative aspect of life.

But my grandparents have refuted this stereotype with their hobbies e.g. languages and travel, and proved that age isn’t such a bad thing. This, combined with my interest in fashion has prompted me to explore age as a fashionable accessory, to be flaunted proudly; something that acts as a metaphor for knowledge, experience and authority.

My grandfather, Denys, who will be celebrating his 90th birthday next month, is certainly a force to be reckoned with if we’re talking age. From learning Welsh, to touring New Zealand or his weekly ukulele class, Denys sees no limit to what he can do while he is still healthy and able. Having such an influence certainly encourages me to live an active life and fulfil my greatest potential.

Let’s also look at the Queen; she is 89, but why are we so focused on her age? She is also patron to 510 charities, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and is still revered by women of all ages for her timeless two-piece power dressing. You don’t have to be a royalist or a patriot to have massive respect for everything she has achieved. She proves that ageing is just an excuse to do and achieve more.

There are many lessons to be taken from the pioneers of age equality. From refusing to conform to age stereotypes while inspiring others to continue life’s journey way beyond the age of retirement. Everyone has their own path in life and everyone ages differently. While we cannot ignore that there are some negative aspects of ageing, I think it’s time to learn from our elders and change our attitudes to create a positive future for age.

I’m not just saying all of this; I’ve got the proof. Just the other day I met a friend for coffee, later to be joined by her boyfriend and his 96-year-old grandma. We had a lovely time, chatting and joking, drinking tea. All the while I thought; what an incredible woman, living a happy active life, hanging out with people 70 years younger than she is, bridging the intergenerational divide and proving that age is just a number.

Esme2

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Value for money PR Posted by: Gemma Keogh | 15.10.15

 

More and more health and social care providers are seeing the value of investing in PR to manage their reputation, build brand awareness and engage with new audiences. It can be a little daunting hiring an agency for the first time, particularly if you don’t have any experience of the industry and are feeling the pressure to get immediate results. So here are a few tips for first-time PR purchasers on how to get value for money PR:

Think holistically – if you want media coverage or a presence on social media but don’t have an up-to-date website or online business profile, then all positive impact from the PR will be lost. Nothing kills a bad product faster than good PR and if you don’t have your comms ducks in a row you wont see the return on investment. PR must work together with your other marketing and comms initiatives, it should be at the heart of your operations, driving messaging and campaigns, rather than an add-on or after thought.  

Be proactive – Reputation management is not just about sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring, or sticking your head in the sand and avoiding threats to your reputation, be proactive. Okay so you’ve hired an agency but make sure that there is a proactive strategy in place so that your brand’s key messages are reaching your stakeholders, allowing you to influence the conversation within your sector.

Be a storyteller – the most effective PR tells the story of a business and includes the voices of patients/residents/tenants. The stories are honest evidence of the services you provide and demonstrate the positive outcomes of your work. They are much more engaging and hold greater influence over stakeholders than traditional advertising because they are personable and people can relate to them.

Get team buy in – staff are one of the biggest brand advocates so it’s essential that your senior team is on board with your PR initiatives and that this filters down through the team. If you want to position your company as business leaders or do a thought leadership campaign then you’ll need spokesmen/ women who are on message and see the value of the work. This means they’ll be more available and flexible for last minute media requests, more willing to be in photo shoots or attend launches, and everything will run more smoothly with greater success.

Bigger is not always best – don’t always choose the biggest agency or London’s premier team because they will come with a premier price tag and if you don’t pay the big bucks service levels may suffer. Look closer to home at regional agencies, particularly those with a speciality in health and social care. Admittedly I’m biased, but we set up Arc Seven outside of London for a reason. We are happy folk – we live in beautiful surroundings, we’re surrounded by like-minded and innovative individuals who also fled the big smoke and we LOVE our work and our clients! Happy folk make good PRs!

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Children and Dementia Posted by: Gemma Keogh | 15.10.15

 

It is incredibly hard to explain to a child what is happening to their grandparent when he/she is living with dementia.

The child often struggles to understand why Grannie doesn’t remember them or why Grandad seems so distressed and angry.

Sometimes children take it personally, thinking that their grandparents don’t love them any more or they too become distressed. Parents may begin to limit visits or worse, tell them that their beloved Grandparent has passed away to avoid on-going upset for the child.

It is a sad, stressful and frightening time for all the family.

But does it have to be like that?

As we, as a society, become braver in our conversations around dementia, make our communities more inclusive for those living with the illness, we need to remember what dementia looks and feels like through the eyes of a child and think of innovative ways we can support families through this journey.

Care providers can play a huge role in supporting children to maintain their relationship with their grandparents. I haven’t been inside a care home yet that doesn’t welcome children but sometimes it takes a little extra care and understanding to help children overcome their fears and feel comfortable within a home.

Family Days, where specific time and space is set aside for children to play or take part in activities together, with their parents and grandparents in the room, can help them feel reassured and more accepting of what is happening.

Intergenerational activities, where the young join in with the older, such as story time or sing-a-long sessions, also helps the child feel a part of the home and they can enjoy their time visiting their grandparents, even if the relationship has taken on a new form.

An innovative client was once so successful in creating an environment where children felt comfortable, that an eight-year-old chose to hold her birthday party there and all the residents were able to enjoy the disco and entertainment.

Gwyenth and Lauren

There are also some excellent resources available for families such as growing range of children’s story books that cover dementia and the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. Some include accessible information pages on the illness, written in language that children will understand, encouraging them to talk about how they feel and how they can continue to spend time with their grandparents.

As a sector it is up to us to make the resources available to the families of our residents, to go the extra mile and make children feel special when they visit a home. As well as an advocate for older people we need to be a champion for the needs of children in the dementia debate too, by offering support, information and by raising awareness.

We’ve already made huge progress over the last few years and we need to build on this and break down the barriers that dementia places between grandparents and their grandchildren.

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