What with work, family and seeing friends, life can feel frantic – but today’s volunteer knows it’s OK to fit doing good for others around her life, not the other way around.
Volunteering can be a great way to take a step back, find a sense of purpose and perhaps even learn new skills. But if you think you simply don’t have the time, think again. There is a way of volunteering without giving up several days of your precious time. You can even volunteer if you just have one hour to spare a week.
Alzheimer’s Society, the UK’s leading dementia support and research charity, currently has 1,000 people with dementia waiting for Side-by-Side volunteers. You don’t need medical expertise, you simply need to be willing to lend a listening ear and maybe enjoy the odd cup of tea.
So how long have you got?
If you have… one or two afternoons a month
You can squeeze volunteering into your 9-5 by becoming a Dementia Friends Champion. You’ll be responsible for running Dementia Friends Information Sessions, which aim to recruit others. You’ll need a day-long induction then you’ll run one or two sessions a month, each lasting an hour, dementiafriends.org.uk
If you have…a spare day
Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk aims to raise £9 million this year in the fight against dementia, with sponsored walks of varying distances around the UK. You can assist at one of the events, possibly serving refreshments, acting as a marshal or handing out medals, helping make sure the day runs smoothly, memorywalk.org.uk
If you have… one hour or less
With Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends initiative, it’s all about small actions, such as wearing a Dementia Friend badge, visiting someone you know with dementia or starting a conversation with others about the condition. To become a “friend”, watch a video on dementiafriends.org.uk or attend an information session. Both have first-hand accounts from those living with dementia.
If you have… a few hours a week
As a Side by Side volunteer, you’re paired with a person who shares your interests, helping them curb the feelings of isolation, which so often come with dementia. You’ll give a few hours a week and those hours are flexible – your meet-ups could be mornings, evenings or over the weekend, or you could have regular phone chats.