A local charity is seeking volunteers for a new service to help people with dementia to keep doing the things they love. Side by Side is a free service from Alzheimer’s Society that provides one-to-one support, making it easier for people with dementia, who might sometimes feel isolated or find it difficult to leave their homes, to remain active and feel part of their local community.
There is strong evidence that life satisfaction in general for older people is positively correlated with levels of activity. Social activity and social support are thought to be directly related to better physical and cognitive function and help slow down the rate of decline.
Katherine Pratt, deputy manager of the charity’s ‘Side by Side’ service in Somerset, said: ‘This new service focuses on enabling people with dementia to lead more fulfilling lives and to continue to take part in the activities that they have always enjoyed and try new ones.
‘We need more volunteers to enable people with dementia to stay connected and help to reduce feelings of loneliness that may be felt after a diagnosis.
‘By doing things like going for a walk, to a football match, or joining a local class together, our volunteers support people with dementia to take up hobbies and get out and about. What they do together is entirely based on what the person with dementia wants.’
Volunteers are crucial to the success of this service and can be any age. Volunteering could range from providing support once a week to once a fortnight at a time that works for the volunteer and person with dementia.
If you are interested in becoming a Side by Side volunteer, please contact the Langport office on 01458 251 541 for more details. Training will be provided so that volunteers are confident about carrying out the role. Volunteering provides a great opportunity to learn new skills, share your hobby with others and enhance your CV in addition to supporting a person to live more independently with dementia.
Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia. In less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to two million people by 2051.
We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0330 333 0804 or visiting alzheimers.org.uk.
Alzheimer’s Society provides a National Dementia Helpline: the number is 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.uk.