What have you got planned for 2024? Could you help by volunteering with Alzheimer’s Tauranga to make life more rewarding for the more than 600 families across the Western Bay of Plenty living with dementia?
Alzheimers Tauranga is urgently looking for volunteers to help support the growing number of families affected by dementia. Many of their regular volunteers finished up last year as they plan to travel, had become unwell themselves or are aging and less able to volunteer.
Volunteer coordinator Stephanie Harlan says the organisation is looking for people with a wide range of skills and experience from across the Tauranga-Western Bay area.
“We’re wanting anyone who is compassionate, trustworthy, reliable and above all, patient to work with our clients in all sorts of ways.
“Our social and support groups are at capacity and there’s a waiting list which we can’t fill without volunteers. People can become team leaders or if best suited, play more of a support role. This enables us to improve the groups and activities we provide as the number of groups we deliver grows, as well as aiding developing new programmes and services.”
She said volunteers are respected and valued for their support to those living with dementia and providing their carers with respite opportunities.
“Often, but by no means always, they are people who have had experience of someone in their own family with dementia. We can provide full training for more specialised help, or if you have no previous experience with dementia, and there’s a spot for everyone who can help.”
The roles include befrienders, people who can help in social and companion groups, cognitive stimulation therapy programmes for clients, and others who may have skills in helping people write their life stories, or assist with art, music and creative activities.
“We’ll provide training about dementia and supporting people with dementia as well as an Introduction to Dementia certificate. We run four to six training sessions a year, which can cover more in-depth areas such as aphasia [inability to speak or understand speech], Parkinson’s and caring for dementia clients through an occupational therapy lens.
“We want to help as many people with dementia as possible but we just can’t do it without our volunteers, and we currently need a few more to meet the demand of our growing service.”
Anyone interested in volunteering with Alzheimer’s can contact volunteers.tauranga@alsheimers.org.nz