Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

Strengths in partnership approach

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Last week we had another very interesting and productive meeting with Compassion in Dying, another silver dreams project providing advocacy support to older people to make decisions about their end of life care. This is the third in a series of meetings we’ve held over the past few months. I met with the CiD Director, Training Manager, Trustee and the Director of Operations from AGE UK East London to share progress and to explore how best our two organisations can work more closely together. CID are working with AGE UK East London who are training advocates to provide this highly personalised approach to older people’s end of life care.

OPAAL and CID have developed a mutually supportive partnership approach to the promotion and continued support of our projects. CID provide OPAAL with meeting space in central London, training for our advocates working to support older people with cancer on end of life issues whilst OPAAL provides information and access to our membership networks.

We both enjoyed sharing the current learning from our projects roll out and discovered that we share many experiences such as the ease at which we are able to recruit older volunteers, similar training packages for advocates, difficulties in getting health professionals on board, confirmation from older people for the need for our services and the involvement of older people in the direction of our projects and their future design.

OPAAL are getting requests from other advocacy organisations asking to expand our advocacy cancer support project to their area. We would love to do this and intend to try. Currently we have been funded by the National Lottery Silver Dreams Fund to pilot the scheme in Dorset, Sefton, Gateshead and Stoke on Trent whilst CID are working in East London. Our other funder Macmillan Cancer Support are supporting us to develop a new Foundation Programme for other organisations wishing to be considered to deliver cancer advocacy support work in 2014.

We are hopeful that we will continue to develop a collaborative approach to future work of this kind. Meanwhile it is our intention to apply for Silver Dreams ‘Flagship’ project status for the project to the National Lottery later this year with the aim, if we are successful, to roll out nationally. We are also trying to obtain other funding streams should our bid be unsuccessful.

It would be helpful to us if you are interested in either peer advocacy support, by older people with older people affected by cancer or/and support with end of life decisions in your part of the world to express an interest below saying why you think the scheme should be expanded to your area.

If you are an organisation, perhaps you could also let us know how and if, you would be able to help us get off the ground in your area. If you know of funding streams in your area that we could use to roll out please do let us know.

Please either leave a comment or call me on 079660 39797 or email kathryn.parson@btinternet.com

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Author: kathparson

Chief Executive of Older People's Advocacy Alliance (UK)

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