Caron Sprake Interview

May 2014
Caron Sprake of Caron Cares

Caron Sprake is a self-employed home-help for the elderly, and a passionate eldercare blogger. Her website Caron Cares offers advice and information for anyone caring for the elderly. Caron is also a Purple Angel ambassador, raising awareness about dementia in her town and online.
Caron Cares is privileged to have some respected guest writers, has Royal approval and has been invited to work alongside the Carers Trust by HRH Princess Anne. Through her honest, heartfelt  blogging Caron has been invited to be part of an advisory panel alongside some of the leading names of the care profession.
Caron has over 20 years’ experience of working with the elderly and disabled in their own homes. As well as bringing up two sons, she was the primary carer for her mother-in-law, so Caron has seen this role from all angles.

CARON. I am delighted to be your first interviewee, but am not sure I am best placed to be!

IRENE. Caron, how did you come to be working in the field of dementia care?
CARON. I am not working uniquely in the field of dementia care, and my knowledge and experience of the condition are, so far, limited. However, two of my elderly clients have dementia.

IRENE. How do you go about raising awareness of dementia?
CARON. I visit local businesses with posters highlighting the needs of someone with dementia. Once staff have read the poster, they display a widow sticker to promote the fact they understand this. I also write about dementia on my blog Caron Cares offering advice and information for anyone caring for the elderly.

IRENE. What would you say is the most important reason for raising children’s awareness of dementia?
CARON. The most important reason for raising children’s awareness of dementia is to remove any fear they may have, and to help reduce the stigma surrounding the condition.

IRENE. What are your preferred resources for raising children’s awareness of dementia?
CARON. In addition to The Forgetful Elephant I know of a few other resources that help educate children. One is “The Dragon Story” a short, beautifully-produced film featuring an elderly dragon and his Grandson, Simon. Another is the “Dementia Diaries”,  written by filmmaker Matthew Snyman in response to the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia. It follows the diaries of four young people from the first diagnosis of dementia in a Grandparent to the end.

IRENE. Have you read my book The Forgetful Elephant? Do you plan to incorporate it in your work?
CARON. No, I have to admit Irene, I haven’t read “The Forgetful Elephant” as I have only just heard about it, but guess what? I will now!

IRENE. How do you think we can educate young children about dementia?
CARON. I think we can initiate conversation with them about it. I always remember one little girl of 7 saying that her Nanny doesn’t have a bad leg, she has a bad head.

IRENE. If you had a magic wand (and unlimited funds), how would you raise awareness of dementia in the community?
CARON. I would use TV to raise awareness of dementia. Adverts between major events and during the soaps would catch a few viewers. And perhaps I would incorporate something into CBeebies for children, just nothing alarming.

IRENE. What sources of information and research about dementia do you follow?
CARON. If time allowed Irene, I would follow an awful lot more about the research into dementia. I currently subscribe to the Alzhiemers magazine, and follow posts on Linkedin and the BBC News site.

IRENE. Which person or organisation do you consider to be a world leader in dementia care?
CARON. I am biased in answering this question. I have to name Norman MacNamarra, as he is living with early onset dementia, yet using this as a platform to raise awareness about the condition. Starting locally here in Devon, his campaign has now gone global, which is wonderful. I also like the work of Paul T.M Smith who is a dementia expert, speaker and author. I love his passionate approach of person-centred dementia care.

IRENE. How can we work together to raise children’s awareness of dementia?
CARON. We can all work together to ensure that children know about dementia, especially those who have a family member living with the condition. It needs to be in the vocabulary in a way that is gentle and not alarming.

IRENE. Thank you Caron for your interesting answers, and for sharing your resources. Good luck, and I look forward to seeing how we can help each other.

Caron Sprake has advice and information for anyone caring for the elderly. Find Caron on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter @caroncares2



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