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Published on 30 March 2011 12:30 PM

Age Cymru is introducing a new initiative to help people have a say on the issues that are important to them should they become ill or frail in later life.

‘My Future’ is a booklet supported by the Welsh Assembly Government that individuals can use to keep a record of the issues that are important to them to maintain their self-identity and dignity.

Age Cymru’s Director of Influencing and Programme Development, Victoria Lloyd, explains:

“Being in control of the issues that affect our lives promotes our sense of identity and helps us to maintain our dignity.

"As we are all individuals, these considerations can range from a strong religious belief to a preference for drinking tea from a bone china cup.

“If we are unwell and relying on others to make choices on our behalf, there is a risk that our views and preferences can be overlooked and we can then lose control of the decision-making process.

“‘My Future’ is a contribution towards helping people maintain choice and control in these situations.

“People can use the booklet to make a list their preferences on a range of matters that they may encounter if and when they ever receive care.”

‘My Future’ will allow people to record their preferences on matters including:

• The people I want to have a say and safeguard my interests (family, friends, neighbours etc.);

• The places that are important in my life;

• My religious or spiritual beliefs;

• The possessions I would wish to keep with me;

• Skills and hobbies I would like to maintain for as long as possible;

• Interests I would wish to maintain;

• Things I would wish to avoid;

• Food and drink preferences;

• My pets, and arrangements for their care;

• Aspects of my health I wish to make known;

• A general statement about me as a person;

Victoria Lloyd concludes:

“Age Cymru will be working with care providers across Wales to promote the ‘My Future’ scheme.

“We’re hoping this will be a lasting and valuable contribution to help carers get to know individuals well and to work with them to tailor the care that they provide - whether that’s in a residential setting or in a person’s own home.

“These instructions will be available to formal care services if and when that person needs formal care and will also be available to family and friends if that person needs informal care.”

‘My Future’ was developed in conjunction with Dr Roger Blunden who commented:

“None of us knows whether we might become mentally or physically frail and end up dependent on care services.

“Having met a lot of frail elderly people at home and in care homes, I wanted to develop a simple step we can all take now to help ensure that those who provide the care see us as the real person we are, not as an empty shell.

“Writing down a few simple facts about our history, likes, dislikes, and interests will give services the information they need to treat us with the dignity and respect we all deserve.

“I hope that ‘My Future’ will be one contribution towards high quality care for all elderly and disabled people.”

Welcoming the publication of ‘My Future’ booklet, the Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas said:

“I am pleased to see the development of this work.

“The Dignity in Care programme for Wales, which I launched in 2007, continues to make progress and this initiative is one of over 20 projects that have been funded by the Welsh Assembly Government.

“Each of the projects will impact positively on the lives of older people and their families.

“Later this year, a final report of the programme will be published along with proposals to continue to take forward the dignity in care agenda in Wales.”

Anyone wanting a free copy of ‘My Future’ can get one by sending an email to myfuture@agecymru.org.uk, or by telephoning Age Cymru on 029 2043 1555.

For more information: Call Age Cymru Advice: 08000 223 444