“Your encouragement has worked wonders in our understanding of each other.”
“I like it when they come here; they have different ideas for what we could do.”
“I stopped writing after my stroke, but I wanted to do the scrapbooks so I made myself practice at home and now I am writing again. Last weekend I decided if I could learn to write again I could learn to knit again. So I knitted all last weekend, listening to Classic FM in the background. It was the best weekend in ages.”
“Last winter I felt so low I thought about moving into a nursing home. Now I feel there are people at the day centre I could talk to if that happened again.”
[The quotes above are from older people who took part in a project I ran with Age UK Oxfordshire in two Oxfordshire social services' day centres in 2007 (you can download that report for free, here: Roots and Circles: ideas for personalising day care). The letter and email in the small photo on the left are from older people who took part in two other projects for different organisations, in Dorset, and Gateshead, in 2008, and 2012.]
More recent testimonials include:
"Thank you very much for your time today, it has been hugely helpful. If only they provided this sort of help for the family at the hospitals when getting the diagnosis!" (Law firm employee and family carer, on their 30 minute 1:2:1 Clinic session held at their workplace, through Employees Matter, June 2017)
"All of it [was 'the most helpful part'] - seemed to cover pretty much every eventuality of becoming a carer. Gave confidence that help is available and where to get it. Clear, detailed, brilliantly presented, with easy to read slides." "Great synopsis of areas and provision of really useful websites."
(Webinar attendees, Navigating the Maze of Care, through Employees Matter, June 2015)
"The most useful Care webinar I have ever attended. It avoided mindfulness and stuck to where you can get help." (Webinar attendee, How to Plan Ahead for Elder Care, through Employees Matter, June 2017)
"I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you once again for your time on Wednesday when you spoke to us about the role of a carer and provided us with a raft of extremely useful information. Everyone who attended the session has commented on how invaluable your advice was and how keen they are to share the information with other members of their family and friends. You were a refreshing change from the usual lunchtime sessions and presented the information in an easily digestible fashion." (Partner, international law firm, about a Coping with Caring lunchtime seminar arranged through Employees Matter, 2015)
“Lorna’s breadth of knowledge of the Care Act was central to the success of the training. She was able to answer questions from attendees with clear insight and understanding of the Act. She is also an excellent commuicator.” (local authority commissioner, Care Act training session in 2015)
“You have a knack for explaining difficult things very simply, and not many people can do that.” (Social worker attending Care Act training 2015)
“Many thanks again for your time and wonderfully helpful, well-informed and supportive input in facilitating the Staff Carers’ Group discussion yesterday. I think it’s really helpful for colleagues – including me - to have the opportunity to come together, and take a bit of ‘time out’ from our busy working days to talk about more personal issues, relationships and caring responsibilities – with all the human complexity and sometimes unsatisfactory imperfection that this can often involve. Your role as a very sensitive, caring and compassionate facilitator is critical to enabling us to even have these kinds of conversations, so I just wanted to acknowledge how valuable your input is. The way in which you also inject a bit of much-needed humour, from time to time, to lighten the tone a little, is also very helpful!” (Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Age UK, 2014)
"What an excellent seminar. So much information presented in such a clear way, with no wasted time and no waffle. It was one of the best sessions I've dialled into." (Navigating the Maze of Care Webinar participant, 2013)
"Please thank Lorna for an excellent explanation of an area that is involving increasingly complex issues and multi-layered topics." (Care Bill Webinar participant, 2013)
And two of my all-time favourites:
"I would recommend Lorna 100%. She is very expert on older people and person centred services, an excellent facilitator and a good researcher and writer. Plus a really nice person to work with." (Policy advisor, national charity, 2016)
"You're a ‘bluebird-of-happiness’ type of person, as opposed to the ‘grey-chicken-of-depression’ type that I try and avoid." (Researcher, national charity, 2014)
A lot of websites offering services similar to my own include testimonials from former clients (and you can in fact read testimonials from two clients on the Private clients page).
On this page, above, I've included a few examples of testimonials from a variety of the people I work with - for example, some are from older people; one from a private company employee who took part in a webinar because they wanted to find out how to help their own parents; some who work in law firms or for local authorities; and people in various roles in national charities.
This isn't a gimmick: a lot of my work involves finding out about and discussing, with older people and family carers, their views and experiences - which are then sometimes drawn together (often alongside contributions from paid staff and others) and represented in reports, presentations, training sessions and other materials; so it makes sense that anyone looking at this website should be able to see that older people are comfortable working with me. After all, these aren't people who already know me - we might come together just for an afternoon or perhaps a few days, in villages, towns and cities anywhere in the UK.
It's equally important that family and friends enquiring on behalf of an older person (whether with me, or through a solicitor) feel the information they receive will help them better understand the options and systems, for them to provide support in turn.
The other important part of this for me is that I haven't asked for these testimonials - these are simply the things that a few people have been kind enough to choose to write, email or say at the time. As you can see from the Oxfordshire quotes, taking part in projects can have other positive effects, too.
This doesn't mean I don't think other types of testimonial - where I've asked for feedback - aren't important (of course, all clients need to be happy with my work, and those who might work with me in the future need to know that work'll be good, too!) - but that this approach might be just as revealing and, hopefully, helpful.