Islington Alzheimer’s charity seeks volunteers for new scheme

Volunteers will help sufferers of dementia to continue doing their favourite hobbies

Volunteers will help sufferers of dementia to continue doing their favourite hobbies - Credit: @simonrawles

A local Alzheimer’s charity is looking for volunteers for a new service to help people with dementia.

The idea behind the free Side by Side service – which is being adopted by the Islington branch of the national Alzheimer’s Society charity – is to enable people with dementia to carry on doing their favourite hobbies.

Grace Liggins, manager of Side by Side in Islington, said: “This new service focuses on enabling people with dementia to lead more fulfilling lives and to continue to take part in the activities they’ve always enjoyed and to try new ones.

“We are currently piloting this service in 17 places across the UK and are looking to expand to 26 by the beginning of next year. We need more volunteers to enable people with dementia to stay connected and help to reduce feelings of loneliness that may be felt after a diagnosis.”

Volunteers, she said, can make a big difference to the life of someone with Alzheimer’s by - for instance - going for a walk or to a football match with them or even joining a local class together.

“What they do together is entirely based on what the person with dementia wants,” she added.

A 2014 survey conducted by Alzheimer’s Society found that 40 per cent of people with dementia in Wales, England and Northern Ireland, have recently felt lonely .

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According to the charity, there is strong evidence that older people are more likely to be generally satisfied with their lives if they engage in activities. Those involved in social activities are also thought to maintain better physical and mental functions, which may help slow down the rate of their decline.

“It might be taking a walk in the park, a visit to a café or a chat over the phone,’ said Liggins. “Sounds simple - but it can make a huge difference to someone’s life.”

Around 225,000 people will develop dementia this year - and roughly 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia.

If you are interested in becoming a Side by Side volunteer, please contact Grace Liggins on 020 7561 4820 or for more details.