Alzheimer’s Society have launched their free Side by Side service to help people with dementia keep doing the things they love.
The scheme will see volunteers providing one-to-one support to tackle isolation and loneliness among people living with dementia. Through Side by Side, Alzheimer’s Society aim to reconnect people living with dementia with their communities and favourite pastimes.
Gemma Sanders, Side by Side Coordinator for Pennine Lancashire, said: “Loneliness is a real problem for people with dementia, yet we know that one of the most important things for those affected is to remain part of their community and continue to do the things they love – from going shopping to enjoying a local football match.”
Research by the Alzheimer’s Society found that people with dementia are more at risk of loneliness than the general population – with a third of people reporting to have lost friends since their diagnosis. Two thirds of people with dementia remain in their communities, but many feel trapped in their own homes – with almost one in 10 only leaving the house once a month.
Project Coordinator Gemma said: “By 2021, 1 million people will be living with the condition in the UK, so it’s vital that we all unite against dementia and do what we can to make a meaningful difference, such as becoming a volunteer”.
A new approach
Supported by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the Side by Side service uses a new approach to volunteering by matching people through their shared interests. Its popularity has meant that the charity is now urgently calling on more volunteers to be paired up.
The top activities people with dementia want to do with a volunteer include:
- Walks to parks and nature spots
- Visiting places of interest such as museums and art galleries
- Trips to garden centres
- Spending time chatting with someone over a cup of tea
Current Side by Side volunteers have reported that they have gained and shared skills, developed new friendships and even enhanced their CV as a result of participating in the service. Side by Side is designed to be flexible so that anyone can sign up – a telephone service is also available so people with limited time can also volunteer.
Become a Side by Side volunteer
If you are interested in becoming a Side by Side volunteer, please contact Gemma Sanders on 0333 150 3456 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Alzheimer’s Society will provide training so that volunteers are confident about carrying out the role. Volunteers must be 18 years above, subject to DBS check.
Alzheimer’s Society work to help improve the lives of people living with dementia. Read about their Dementia Friends initiative here