By Philly Hare, Co-Director Innovations in Dementia CIC
During this current difficult period, many thousands of people will be ‘doing their bit’ by supporting their fellow citizens in their local communities. Some of them will be coming into contact with people with dementia, maybe for the first time… and they may feel a bit nervous and apprehensive. Many will have misconceptions and stereotypes about dementia, forgetting perhaps that everyone is, first and foremost, a human being, and we all have the same basic needs for safety and social contact.
There’s already quite a lot of guidance for volunteers out there – but uniquely we have produced tips which have come directly from people with dementia themselves. These include a short guide /checklist and four new short videos, all of which you can download for free.
In these resources, people with dementia talk about what is helpful if someone gives them a lift (for example, to a health appointment); what matters if someone delivers their shopping or a meal: and what is important in a volunteer who has been asked to ‘keep in touch’ with them. And, not surprisingly, none of this is rocket science – a smiley face, a gentle reminder of your name and why you are there, a slow pace and a bit of time for a chat or a joke… all these make the encounter enjoyable rather than a box to be ticked.
The resources are endorsed by Alzheimer’s Society, the British Psychological Society, and NAPA (National Activity Providers Association).
The Cheklist is available here:
Watch the video volunteering guides here: