Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Life and Change

Do you ever feel you could do more in life? Do you feel you could achieve more, earn more, succeed more?

Obviously we all feel like that at some point in our lives, how we deal with those feelings is, however, a completely different matter. Some will do nothing and become increasingly frustrated with life usually blaming the failure to progress on ‘circumstances’ or the people around them, others will be like whirlwinds in a constant flux of change and new projects as soon as the previous one bores them.

Thankfully most of us are somewhere in the middle. As human beings change is inevitable and how we tackle that change impacts on our lives just as much, if not more, than the change itself. How often have you gotten nervous and worried about something new only to think afterwards “Well that wasn’t so bad was it”?

The best way to manage personal change is to plan for it. Decide what it is you want to achieve and then work out what you need to do to get there. Small, incremental steps are usually the best way, if we can succeed in making one step, it makes it easier to move on to the next, if we take a huge jump we could end up flat on our faces, feeling embarrassed and distinctly unwilling to try that again.

We cope with achieving our goals better when we are supported. Top sports people have high aims but they have a support system in place to help them get there, yes they have the raw talent but it is shaped and moulded by coaches, physiotherapists, psychologists etc. in order to maximise the individuals potential.

But what about real life?

Ageing is a change, ageing means changes to our physical and mental make-up, ageing is a challenge that needs to be faced particularly if the ageing process means coping with age related conditions that undermine our own sense of well-being.

Ageing is an inevitability yet it does not mean that the change cannot be supported and goals set to minimise the impact of the ageing process. Obviously there are the standard routes we can take in terms of pension and retirement planning and we can always find support for this.

But the crucial need for support, effective planning and achieving effective goals come when there is a need for social care services as we age.

Naturally most people want to live as long as possible in their own home, this becomes the goal. To achieve the goal we need support, we need a plan of how that support is to be achieve, a plan that needs to be broken down in terms of smaller achievements, what we might need to have now in order to make further changes in the future.

If we go back to the athlete analogy, we need our coaches, physios and psychologists to be working together to support us and work with our plan. In other words we need social care, health care and housing working together to support us and work with our plan!

We need effective integration!

Integration is about services working together to support the individual, not about services working together for the benefit of the services.

The support needed by individuals will vary according to the needs, goals and desires of the individual and the various ‘support’ systems available, social care, health, housing, benefits, employment etc. need to coalesce around the individual, to focus on the individual and provide support for the individuals wishes.

Moving forward in life always presents challenges, as we age those challenges may become increasingly difficult to face without professional support. That support needs to be integrated around the person needing it and that has to be the starting point for any discussion on integration.