Tell your story – real problems, better solutions #PSICamp

Guest blog post by Victoria Silver, a fellow Hub Launchpad Scholar 

Twitter, Pinterest, Keek, Vine, Tumblr are largely untapped resources for improving public services. But powerful digital stories about experiences can teach us so much about people and their behavior, and what issues are important to them.
People of all ages and abilities can make and share stories and have testified how rewarding the experience can be when stories are shared and people find they have discovered a new voice, with the power to influence change.
There are many reasons why story telling should be taken seriously as part of the service design process. First and most obvious, is co-decision making and democracy, leading to better decisions and tapping into intelligence.
Crowdsourcing has been used to map key concerns in Latvia looking at what people were paying to heat their homes and the cost of bills parents face when sending a child to school, but how would a story telling crowdsourcing approach work within local government?
The world is ageing and demand for care is growing. By 2050 Europe will have the oldest population in the world, and in the UK 11 million people alive today will live to be 100.  Demand for care will rise dramatically putting massive pressure on people to be unpaid carers to parents, partners and children.
 
As the number of carers grows, the challenge is how we support them so they can access everyday practical support and advice.  Some need help with access to financial support or respite breaks and counselling.  Others simply need to be put in-touch with others to stop isolation and feeling cut-off in their home caring role.
 
Crowdsourcing of carer stories can be a powerful route to connectedness, friendship, support and advice if organised around carer experiences and scenarios.  Learning from others who are walking in your shoes is a powerful way to improve wellbeing outcomes and reduce public service spending – moving away from traditional service-led approaches that have meant carers are not receiving the right help, for the right issues in the right way, and at the right time.
Interested in discussing this further? Get in touch with Victoria via email – silvervpr@yahoo.co.uk or Twitter: @VictoriaSilver4

How often do you see your parents?

Do you ever feel guilty about how much time you spend with your parents? If so, the See your folks website will probably make you feel even worse! The website uses data from the World Health Organisation to predict how many times you are likely to see your parents before they die.

While this website can be shocking / upsetting at first, it might actually be a really good way of encouraging people to consider how they use their time and what their priorities are.

I don’t think people should feel guilty about how much time they spend with their parents. For various reasons it is not always possible for people to live close to their parents or to see them on a regular basis. It’s important for older people to have a large network of people they can have a nice time with and who they can ask for help.

If everyone helped others and got involved with their local areas we wouldn’t have to worry about how our parents will manage without us living close by. I am hoping A Friend Indeed, the organisation I am working to set up, will help people connect to others in their communities. Everyone has a skill that can help someone else, from gardening to translating documents into English, running errands to doing DIY, cooking and baking to IT support. By helping someone in your community, and receiving support in return, we hope a long-lasting friendship will develop. If you are interested in getting involved please get in touch or like our Facebook page!

Anyone can feel lonely, not just older people

800,000 people are lonely in the UK.  Contrary to stereotypes, loneliness is not restricted just to older people.  A BBC survey found 48% of adults feel varying degrees of loneliness. People can feel lonely because of bereavement, illness, redundancy, and also after moving house or starting school.

Susan Allen, Programme Support Officer at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, recently wrote a great blog looking at the causes of loneliness. I particularly like two points made in Susan’s blog:

  • People do not always recognise loneliness
  • Don’t judge people based on their age – not all older people need others to look after them!

Not one older person I have spoken to through my work has described themselves as ‘lonely’. It is not a term people use to describe themselves, probably because it has a stigma attached to it. This can make it difficult for organisations to know who is in need of their help.

This week the Joseph Rowntree Foundation launched a free resource pack to help people consider what causes loneliness and reduce it, which is a positive development in stopping people from being lonely across the country.