Volunteering in a Dementia Day Care Centre

I think I mentioned before that every week, on a Friday morning, I go and volunteer in a day care centre for elderly people with dementia, for about two hours. It is probably the highlight of my week, to get out of school and speak to new people for a change.

The main reason I like it so much is the difference I can make to a person’s day just by being there. As well as for me, it gives them a chance to see and speak to new people, they love me being there to chat with them. We talk about all sorts of things and it’s interesting to hear some of the stories they have to share about growing up, working and living sixty years prior to our generation. We play games, do quizzes, read the newspaper among other things and I love the fact that what usually could be someone who’d just sit in a chair all day, will actually interact with you; they will join in with games and activities that they wouldn’t otherwise do.

It also gives their carers a bit of a break, to grab a drink and get some paperwork done while I spend time with the women there. They like having me there because it means that they can do something a bit different and that the elderly women have something a bit different to do likewise.

However, there are always challenges with anything like this any of you decide to do. It is wonderful, but sometimes it can be hard to get some people to join in with activities you are doing so thats when you have to put across your enthusiasm and help them to accomplish what seems to us as simple tasks. By the time it comes round to be their go again, they will have forgotten what to do, which means you require patience and a maintained level of enthusiasm. This kind of thing would be pointless if it presented no challenges at all, and dealing with these has helped educate me into how to deal with similar things I may encounter in the future.

To me, the greatest satisfaction I can get is to brighten up someone’s day, even just a little. Volunteering at a day care centre or residential home, I have found to be extremely rewarding because you can change people’s days, just being present. Anyone interested in healthcare or wanting to choose a career heavily people-based, you should try and get some experience like this because you will make a lot of people’s days better, as well as your own. 🙂

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