Chair of the Board
Ruth is a Founder-Director of Life Story Network, the original host organisation of tide. Her role is to work with the Executive Team to ensure that we deliver our commitments and strive to grow the organisation on a firm foundation. She takes a lead role in financial matters, assists with project management and led the development of tide in Wales before we were able to recruit staff there. Ruth was formerly the National Programme Lead for Older People, Dignity and Dementia in the Department of Health in England. She is currently the vice-chair of the Liverpool Dementia Action Alliance and represents tide at the Dementia and Housing Working Group, the Meeting Centres Support Programme national advisory group, the Expert Advisory Group for NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Steering group for the Dementia Care Standards in Wales.
I was inspired to help create a UK wide network in 2008, when I heard Ken Holt talking at a conference workshop about the life story he had written for his wife, who had dementia and lived in a care home. He told participants that he thought we needed a national network to spread the word about life story work across the country.
Working in the Department of Health at the time, I was able to allocate a small amount of funding to bring some like-minded people together to work out how to realise Ken’s vision. Through the hard work and dedication of the team, the national network was launched at a major conference, attended by 250 people. It continues today.
Through listening and coming to a deep understanding of the preferences and aspirations of individuals, life story work enables dignified and respectful care. The establishment of tide therefore represents the core drive behind Life Story Network, taking us back to that original inspiration from Ken and giving us the opportunity to encourage many more carers to get involved, speak out and use their experience to influence policy and practice UK wide.
I recently co-edited a book with Polly Kaiser about using life story work with people with dementia. It uses an evidence-based approach to explain the benefits of life story work, and how it can be used in different settings.
I am currently Chair of the Liverpool Dementia Action Alliance, and the Liverpool Dementia Action Alliance Transport Group
Publications: Kaiser, P. and Eley, R. (2017) Life Story Work with People with Dementia: Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary People. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017.