Asume, Attract

Integration

With regards to those living with dementia, often who was a volunteer, carer or another person living with dementia was fluid and indeed unimportant. They only saw people in their network (some of whom they liked, some of whom they did not like at all) but the categories themselves were redundant in many cases.

Interestingly, where this was the case, volunteers often felt more positive about the experiences they were having as they were perceived as an equal. Treating everyone as equals was important to people living with dementia as well. For example, one befriender saw the equal relationship as an important part of his relationship with the person he spent time with.

Some volunteers really appreciated the ‘line’ which they saw as important in creating a boundary over the activities that they could or would engage in. Therefore, clear boundaries were important but in groups and interacting, volunteers wanted to be acknowledged on an equal footing to other participants. Seeing volunteers as just another person in the network was a default position for those living with dementia. Often lines were drawn using organisational processes (such as name tags) but volunteers wanted to also establish equal and reciprocal relationships

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I don’t think they even see any of us as working with them. They just see it as they’re having a nice time together and they don’t recognise any difference between [B] who is [C’s] wife and [D] who is a paid person, and me as a volunteer. We’re all just there together (Female volunteer, Cumbria).

The first lady that I was involved with….and her nearest daughter lived up Inverness. So I very quickly became… a conduit… because I would email her mostly each week when I’d seen her mum and say how she’d been, and her daughter would…or I’d say if I’d noticed in the house that the woman was short of something or other I’d email the daughter and say, I’ll go and get her some more toiletries or something and you can leave some money out for me next time you’re down (Female volunteer, Stirlingshire).

The first lady that I was involved with….and her nearest daughter lived up Inverness. So I very quickly became… a conduit… because I would email her mostly each week when I’d seen her mum and say how she’d been, and her daughter would…or I’d say if I’d noticed in the house that the woman was short of something or other I’d email the daughter and say, I’ll go and get her some more toiletries or something and you can leave some money out for me next time you’re down (Female volunteer, Stirlingshire).