Side by Side with people with dementia in Newry & Mourne

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Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016
Community
A local charity is seeking volunteers for a new service to help people with dementia to keep doing the things they love. alz3Side by Side is a free service from Alzheimer’s Society that provides one-to one support, making it easier for people with dementia, who might sometimes feel isolated or find it difficult to leave their homes, remain active and feel part of their local community. A survey by Alzheimer’s Society found 40 per cent of people with dementia in Wales, England and Northern Ireland, have felt lonely recently (Dementia 2014). There is strong evidence that life satisfaction in general for older people is positively correlated with levels of activity. Social activity and social support are thought to be directly related to better physical and cognitive function and help slow down the rate of decline. Hazel Mayger, manager of the charity’s ‘Side by Side’ service in South West of Northern Ireland, said, “This new service focuses on enabling people with dementia to lead more fulfilling lives and to continue to take part in the activities that they have always enjoyed and try new ones. “We are currently piloting this service in 17 places across the UK and are looking to expand to 26 by the beginning of next year. We need more volunteers to enable people with dementia to stay connected and help to reduce feelings of loneliness that may be felt after a diagnosis. “By doing things like going for a walk, to a football match, or joining a local class together, our volunteers support people with dementia to take up hobbies and get out and about. What they do together is entirely based on what the person with dementia wants.”
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CountryFest gifsShe continued, “Volunteers are crucial to the success of this service and can range from providing support once a week to once a fortnight at a time that works for the volunteer and person with dementia. “It might be taking a walk in the park, a visit to a café or a chat over the phone, sounds simple, but it can make a huge difference to someone’s life.” said Hazel. “By 2017 we want every person with dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to have opportunity to access Side by Side.” If you are interested in becoming a Side by Side volunteer, please contact Hazel Mayger on 028 3025 6057 or hazel.mayger@alzheimers.org.uk for more details. Training will be provided so that volunteers are confident about carrying out the role. Volunteering provides a great opportunity to learn new skills, share your hobby with others and enhance your CV in addition to supporting a person to live more independently with dementia.

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