Asume, Attract

Impact on person with dementia

Volunteers who shared the same background indicated that when those living with dementia matched up on interests the impact could be very positive due to a specific connection being made. There was also an argument that without the volunteers being there, many in the group could not participate and withdraw. The setting and one to one element that a volunteer could has proved impactful as well. The presence of volunteers in group settings allows one-on-one activity with people who did not previously engage. Many volunteers were aware that their presence and interaction had an impact on those with dementia.

The view among many volunteers was that they were helping to share the load or to give carers a break. The activities themselves were also linked to the potential impact. Here it was not only having a break from caring responsibilities but also being able to participate in the activities being facilitated by volunteers. The activities therefore provided respite, enjoyment and social links that would perhaps not have been available without volunteers. The impact that volunteers had on carers was also acknowledged by those with dementia.

We were working with one particular man who really didn’t engage in the session and I think that was just because nobody was there to support him to enable him to engage in the session but working one to one with him he came alive and just got involved so that was very rewarding {Female volunteer, Cumbria}.

Several of them will go away not having remembered what they’ve done, but you can see they’re going away happy and that is lovely {Female volunteer, Cumbria}.

And I said to her [carer] yesterday that’s three years since I’ve been coming here, and she says, yeah, and when you came he used to give me earache going on about who’s this fellow, and he’s sitting there listening, shaking his head, going no….. She said he [now] looks forward to you coming, he’s very possessive of that time, et cetera. This is where the six weeks wouldn’t have worked, because you wouldn’t have got to know him. And you find that with all of the others {Male volunteer, Stirlingshire}.