Volunteer Befrienders for the Alzheimer's Society

How to make a real difference by volunteering
Volunteer Befrienders for Alzheimer’s Society are calling on residents of Buckinghamshire to sign up and volunteer to support people with dementia to continue to feel a part of their community.
Brenda has been volunteer with the Buckinghamshire Befriending Service for more than three years. She said she finds the role rewarding and wants to encourage others to sign up. She said: “I find being with people makes me happier and you get to learn about so many things because we all have stories to tell. The greatest gift though is knowing that you have given something back to society and making the person feel inclusive in society.  I don’t see the dementia.  My visits are based purely on having company and good conversation for both parties.  I understand that the recent memory is not as focused as it once was, but we don’t dwell on it and the long-term memory is very much still there and once we start we can talk for hours.  We conduct ourselves in a very normal way.  We have excellent conversations and do activities including playing scrabble, crosswords, knitting and growing runner beans and tomatoes.” 
A total of 85 per cent of people with dementia say that they struggle with isolation, loneliness and depression. Befrienders provide companionship and are matched with people depending on their personality and common interests so those with the condition are able to continue to do things they love from shopping, visiting the gardening centre or a national trust centre to simply just having a chat over a cup of tea.
Another befriender, Carmen, is also a Volunteer Befriender.  She said: “I find my befriending visits interesting and rewarding.  Dementia can take away someone’s confidence to socialise, communicate and venture outside.  I like communicating, enjoy sharing my experiences and I feel good when I have managed to make someone else smile or laugh.  I always come away with a smile on my face and I look forward to my visit the following week.  I feel that I have perhaps made a tiny difference to someone. My befriendee seems to be happy to see me each week and always asks whether I will come back next week.”
To become a Befriending volunteer, no experience is needed and full training is given along with regular support meetings.  Sam Marshall, Alzheimer’s Society Befriending Manager for Buckinghamshire, said: “Life doesn’t stop when a person is diagnosed with dementia. People often still want to do the things they enjoyed doing before.  This service offers the perfect opportunity for volunteers to help people with dementia to continue to feel a part of their community and to do the things they enjoy. There are 8,972 people living with dementia in Buckinghamshire and with the right support people can live well in their communities.  Our volunteers really do make a difference!”
To find out more about volunteering for the befriending service contact Sam on 01296 331722 or email bucksbefriending@alzheimers.org.uk
Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading dementia charity. We provide information and support, fund research, campaign to improve care and create lasting change for people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Dementia devastates lives. Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia. By 2021, 1 million people will be living with the condition. This will soar to two million by 2051.
  • Dementia deaths are rising year on year and 225,000 will develop dementia this year - that’s one every three minutes.
  • Dementia costs the UK economy over £26 billion per year. This is the equivalent of more than £30,000 per person with dementia. 
  • Alzheimer’s Society funds research into the cause, care, cure and prevention of all types of dementia and has committed to spend at least £150 million on research over the next decade. This includes a £50 million investment in the UK's first dedicated Dementia Research Institute.
  • Until the day we find a cure, Alzheimer's Society will be here for anyone affected by dementia - wherever they are, whatever they're going through. Everything we do is informed and inspired by them.
  • Let's take on dementia together. Volunteer. Donate. Campaign for change. Whatever you do, unite with us against dementia. 
  • Alzheimer’s Society relies on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0330 333 0804 or visiting alzheimers.org.uk.  
  • Alzheimer’s Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.uk  
  • Follow us on Twitter @AlzSocSEEngland
  • Like us on Facebook at ‘Alzheimer’s Society – South East England’
  • Alzheimer’s Society YouTube channel www.youtube.com/AlzheimersSociety
Press Office: 01403 213013 Email: gemma.angell@alzheimers.org.uk

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Oct 21, 2018

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