Asume, Attract

Challenges

Dealing with a person exhibiting aggression, bad temper or distress has proved the most commonly cited challenge among volunteers. Some volunteers learnt how to overcome such a challenge by observing staff and carers and how they calmed a situation. A key challenge that was mentioned was when someone would want to leave the group to go outside, which could present safety issues and be disruptive. The challenges can vary by setting, for example between group and one-to-one sessions (e.g. in the home).

There were also concerns that linked to the stigma that is attached to people living with dementia, or people acting differently in public places in general. Volunteers were concerned about possible responses from other people while out in public: Many volunteers described the need to take people out to public places to give them some normalisation (e.g. going to a café, a walk, getting the newspaper) but were aware of the wider reaction to some of the behaviour of the person living with dementia.

The relationship between the family carer and person with dementia could also inhibit involvement or participation in activities. The challenges around family members disagreeing on how much involvement their relative is capable of, or how they should be treated was also raised. Carers could impact of dynamics of the relationship between the volunteer and the person with dementia.

On a personal level, volunteers also had internal challenges to overcome. The need for a volunteer to overcome their own wariness/shyness, particularly in a group setting or activity was a common challenge. Furthermore, a challenge described by some just starting out in their volunteering roles was coping with getting emotionally involved with their client, the loss of memory of the person with dementia and the repetition this entails.

Click here for more information and a printable pdf on Challenges

Click here for more information and a printable pdf on Challenges: Boundaries

Click here for more information and a printable pdf on Challenges: Carer and family

Click here for more information and a printable pdf on Challenges: Gender Issues

Click here for more information and a printable pdf on Challenges: Time Commitment

…but if you’re in a public place, you’re aware that other people…that can be challenging. Other people. Because there’s so little understanding about dementia that that can be quite challenging {Female volunteer, Cumbria}.

I mean the start of volunteering with somebody can be [challenging], if you haven’t got the support in place. Also if something comes up that you’re really not sure how to deal with and there isn’t someone you can phone up and say look, you know, I think I might have done the wrong thing or whatever, to somebody else. I think that’s the main thing {Female volunteer, Stirlingshire}.