accessibility & help

Volunteers on hand to help dementia patients

19 March 2012

An Alzheimers patient and her carer © InfoThe British Red Cross has launched a new service offering support both to people living with dementia and their carers.

The dementia care project in Shropshire provides help for dementia patients and carers, with a view to enhancing their quality of life and reducing unnecessary hospital admissions.

Our specially trained health and social care volunteers, working in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society, provide short-term support to those who suddenly find themselves in a crisis situation. The project is funded by Shropshire County Primary Care trust.

‘Unable to cope’

George Rook, health and social care manager, explained: “We’re essentially there to support both the patient and their carers through short periods of crisis when they are unable to cope.

“For example, a carer might be ill or exhausted – or just a couple of hours’ break now and then can make such a positive difference. Our volunteers also work with the person with dementia, doing things such as reminiscing about their early lives.”

He added: “With the right support, people with dementia can continue to live at home for many years. In fact, staying in a familiar environment can often be a big help – but it’s vital the right support systems are in place.”

‘Valuable service’

Volunteers make regular home visits for up to six weeks. Besides helping with light domestic tasks, they collect shopping and prescriptions. They also provide a transport service to help patients attend GP and hospital appointments – and even offer relaxing therapeutic massage to help worn-out carers unwind. 

Emma Wilde, Alzheimer’s Society field worker, said: “This is a really valuable service – and all the Red Cross volunteers have received our dementia care training, which puts them in good stead to support people with they are caring for.”

Learn more about health and social care in the UK

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