My name is Lucy Chalmers; I am a 6th year pupil at Armadale Academy, and I volunteer with Alzheimer Scotland. To be honest, I never knew much about the amount of people that struggle with dementia and how we could help them before I got involved with Alzheimer Scotland, just over a year ago. My teacher once mentioned about how good a charity it was and how volunteering with them is a once in a lifetime experience. Turns out that it is!
I couldn’t believe that just talking to someone for half an hour could really improve their quality of life. But it turns out I’ve been proved wrong, which I’m really happy about because I want to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
Not only does being a volunteer allow you to make an impact on lots of people’s lives, you get a lot out of it too. It makes you happy when you have helped someone with Alzheimer’s to engage in a game with you, allowing them just to talk. That’s what people need. Someone to talk to them, listen, empathize and just in general be there for them. That’s what I hope to achieve doing 1:1s with residents, and Alzheimer Scotland is making that possible for me. Through volunteering I have gained more confidence and became more independent, been able to overcome things I never thought possible. I suffer from depression and struggle sometimes, but to know I can make a difference in someone’s life makes me feel like I really am worth something and that I will manage to overcome this small setback.
You may be wondering what the residents get out of people from Alzheimer Scotland volunteering and working with them in care homes. They get to do a wide range of activities from making memory books to looking at things that interested them when they were young. A resident recently said to me “Who are you here to see?” and I was like “You, if you want to chat?” and the smile lit up her face as she looked so grateful and replied “Really?” The residents gain confidence, as they are able to do activities and remember things such as my name, which pleases them to no end! Everyone in the care home I volunteer in has some form of dementia and even if we can’t change their lives, we can remind them of the ‘good old days’ and improve their quality of life by giving them someone to talk to and help them feel as though they are getting some sort of support through us.
Volunteering with Alzheimer Scotland will be one of the best experiences in your life, and it’s so worth it!
If you feel inspired to volunteer with Alzheimer Scotland, find out more here.