HSBC staff volunteer at our Dementia Café
On the 13th of September 3 members of staff from our corporate partner HSBC used their volunteering day to help support our Dementia Café in Dalkeith which is run by volunteers.
All three members of staff have had a personal experience of Alzheimer’s disease so have seen first-hand the effects on both the individual and the carers.
Ross, one of the volunteers tells us his experience of volunteering at our Dementia Café.
The café itself is held in a Church Hall and can have up to 40 attendees including their carers. The regular volunteers are never sure how many additional volunteers they may get and were really grateful when we showed up as they didn’t have anyone who was able to set up the hall’s tables and chairs.
The regular volunteers were varied but many from a medical background with a retired GP, nurse and young doctor in the room. There was a good debate around the treatment of Alzheimer’s and all agreed that services such as the dementia café are crucial to combating the onset of Alzheimer’s as it stimulated the memory process and allowed people living with dementia to be active in their communities for as long as possible.
The doors opened at 11am and there was a steady flow of people until the hall was full. We were doing a mixture of activities ranging from serving tea and coffee, to sitting with the customers and striking up conversations with them.
After lunch the group was split into carers and those living with dementia. For the carers Alzheimer Scotland had organised a guest speaker from ScotRail who gave a talk on the new Borders Railway line and opportunities for a potential group outing. Alzheimer Scotland do a fantastic job in negotiating freebies such as motorised wheelchairs to help people get out and enjoy the trips – things which would normally have a cost associated.
We participated in the reminiscence session facilitated for those living with dementia. For me this was the best part of the day – Matt, the facilitator was a joy to watch as he cajoled people into recalling memories ranging from playing musical instruments to going to the dancing in the 50/60’s. I even managed to recall the name of the Wombles from the 70’s TV Show which showed my age!
Once both group sessions had finished Davie and I were then put to good use again to put away all the tables and chairs we had set up in the morning.
I cannot emphasise enough how welcome we were made to feel and how grateful the Café was for the additional volunteers. If you do get the opportunity to help you will find it a rewarding experience.
A huge thank you to Ross, Davie and Liz from HSBC who volunteered at our Dementia Café – volunteers help us to run our services up and down the country. We couldn’t do it without you!