My life, my choice, or is it?

You would think that when you become an adult, providing you keep within the law, its your choice as to how you live your life and who makes decisions about what you can and cannot do, well sadly sometimes that is not the case. There may come a point in your life when other people are making decisions about you and your life, and the legal processes or systems designed to support and protect you may actually work against you.

Swan Advocacy, one of the South West’s leading welfare rights charities, recently hosted a conference for over 170 delegates that tackled the issues of how perceptions of age, illness and disability influence how people are treated, with a particular focus on how this limits people’s choices and ability to make their own decisions.

The delegates from across the South West included commissioners, health and social care professionals, carers, care home providers, volunteer organisations and solicitors; who collectively examined ways we all can work together to improve the individual’s ability to make their own choices, and the part independent advocacy plays in helping individuals to be more actively involved in issues that concern them.

 Swan Advocacy’s Chief Executive Teresa Wells said “As advocates we witness first-hand the experiences of individuals subject to complex decision making processes where decisions are being made for them rather than with them – legislation and processes designed to protect people can often be disempowering if individuals do not have access to the right support. We are really pleased that so many people joined us to discuss and debate the fundamental issues that affect the most vulnerable members of our community.”

 Delegates took away with them an improved understanding of how advocacy can be an important 2 way communication mediator between the client and services. Everyday Swan’s advocates are assisting vulnerable people who use services to communicate and be more actively involved in overcoming issues that concern them, by supporting the individual to maintain their choice and control in decision making processes they are faced with.

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