People were also attracted to volunteering in dementia care because of their interests and hobbies that linked with the volunteering role. Some people had an interest in history and reminiscence so volunteered within museums or reminiscence groups for people with dementia. A number of the groups that we recruited research participants from involved the arts, singing, dancing, poetry and art. The focus of these groups could be an influence in why people got involved. For a few, usually younger volunteers, volunteering had been a stepping stone on a path to a job in a caring profession..
A few people talked about a direct interest in dementia but this was less common, for most participants their link with dementia was personal, as discussed below, rather than seen as an interest. These findings suggest that volunteering opportunities that enable people to pursue particular interests and skills will be popular and attract new volunteers. In Cumbria particularly there were a lot of opportunities for volunteers to get involved in arts based projects with a dementia focus(?) and this was attractive to them.
Dementia is something I’ve been interested in. I think it’s something to know something about. It’s happening more and more now and I think one should be aware of it. (Female volunteer, Stirling)
I adore music and I adore dancing, because I’m part of a dance group myself. (Female volunteer, Cumbria, dance group for dementia)
I think to support my studying, I felt it was important to get some practical voluntary experience to support my developing knowledge but also my skills and job prospects in the future. I think what we’re learning in the university in a classroom, you know when you get out there and you’re doing it practically its quite different so I was keen to get some more practical experience. I think it was a combination of opportunity came along, I was very inspired by what I saw and I felt it supported my studies in self-development really. (Female volunteer, Cumbria)