Amanda Waring, spokesperson and initiator of the Governments Dignity board has been campaigning nationally and internationally for many years as an advisor and advocate for dignified and compassionate care standards. Friday the 1st of February, widely becoming known as ‘Dignity Action Day’, marks a day of opportunity and great significance, especially for Amanda.
Dignity Action Day, a campaign instigated by the work of the Dignity Board, encourages us all to ensure people are treated as individuals, are given choice, control and a sense of purpose in their daily lives. That more importantly, awareness of such key and relevant issues are considered not just for the day, but for days, weeks and months to come.
“Dignity Action Day is not about raising money but about raising the awareness of the needs of vulnerable people in hospitals, care homes and throughout our communities” explains Amanda. Whose passionate and empowering approach drives home awareness for the countless ways that we as individuals can all make a difference to someone, whether as an individual helping a neighbour with shopping or a large group organising a big event in a hospital. Amanda would love to see schools taking a lead in these teachings too, offering pupils the opportunity to learn about the importance of respecting and caring for elders as part of their curriculum and ultimately providing them with an essential life skills and attitudes needed in order to shape them as well rounded adults that will form the soul of our communities.
“This special day gives everyone the opportunity to contribute to upholding people's rights to dignity and provides a truly memorable day for people receiving care” says Amanda. “There are many ways that we can get involved and give the gift of time; with this we can all make a difference!”
Over the years Amanda’s own tireless campaigning has stemmed from a very personal connection associated to the issues challenging our society. The creation of her award winning and powerful film ‘What Do You See’ was made in memory of her late mother Dame Dorothy Tutin, after Amanda witnessed the upsetting and appalling standards of care that she received. Selling her own property in order to fund the film, Amanda has not looked back since. The film’s first-rate reviews triggered the creation of a series of inspirational dignity films, training packs, workshops and support materials by Amanda which are widely used in dignity trainings around the world. The films are reputed to be the best training tools available, that tackle person centered and end of life care issues and make educational viewing for care staff, individuals and students alike. Along with the films and training resources available through Amanda’s website, there is also the opportunity to listen to her Dignity Action Day anthem. Recorded a couple of years ago, Amanda’s ‘Dignity Song’s’ powerful lyrics drive home the important messages of why and what we should be doing as individuals within our society.
Amanda feels we all still have a lot of work to do before attitudes towards our elders improve and the dignity of care standards are not seen as a luxury but as a necessity. “I would like to encourage care homes, hospitals, schools and individuals to watch my films. We all need a reminder of how we need to see the individual inside, regardless of age, race or disability. Emotional intelligence can be taught and caring from the heart and communicating on a heart to heart level makes everyone feel valued. Now is the time to maintain, restore and inspire dignity in word and deed and reinspire our humanity, perhaps Dignity Action Day can mark the start for many!”
As a key advocate for elder care issues, Amanda is excited by the prospect of delivering further workshop and training sessions throughout the year. Published in 2012, her new book, ‘The Heart of Care’ A Guide to Person Centered Compassionate Care is available to order online now, through Waterstones, WHSmiths and Amazon. Amanda hopes to continue with raising awareness, changing attitudes and challenging behaviours as much as she can moving forward but encourages us all to become our own Dignity Champions too.
To find out more about Amanda’s talks, films, training resources and to hear her Dignity Action Day anthem 'A Dignified Heart', please visit her website www.amandawaring.com
To take your own action now, you can sign up to the campaign to become a Dignity Champion by visiting http://www.dignityincare.org.uk/Becoming_a_Dignity_Champion/
Amanda Waring is an actress, writer and director and has been a passionate campaigner for older people's rights for the past five years.