"Volunteering through the lockdowns gave me a real purpose of my own self existence. One says, giving is more than receiving, and how true it is! It is so much more satisfying than to indulge in self-pity!" Ruth, Age Exchange Volunteer
As the UK comes out of lockdown, Age Exchange aims to build the resilience of those living with dementia in our community, their carers & older people. Our Active Aging programme offers over 138 older people the opportunity to engage with their community through our hub, not for profit café & telephone befriending service.
The people we support and our older volunteers have told us that they felt particularly socially isolated due to the pandemic.
During the pandemic we remodelled our dementia & carer support services in light of the pandemic through a virtual day care service for 238 older people, including our volunteers, through activity boxes, singing & movement DVDs & wellbeing phone calls to improve wellbeing & reduce feelings of loneliness. Our in person services reopened on 4th May and we are continuing to support our older volunteers to feel confident in returning to in person volunteering as group sizes and lengths increase.
Volunteers described a decline in confidence levels & feelings of anxiety leaving their home. They felt particularly lonely as some of our volunteers are digitally isolated & said that without our telephone calls to check on their wellbeing, they would have been completely disconnected from the world around them throughout the course of the pandemic.
"I think sometimes it's easier to talk to someone who is not a close relative because it’s a voice that you associate at the end of the line and so you can really pour anything out. It gives a sense of belonging as well." Telephone befriending Service user
Volunteering has many benefits for older people who have been especially impacted by a lack of social engagement caused by the pandemic;-
- Volunteering reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation
- It provides opportunities for exercise, gives motivation to peoples days and provides a sense of purpose after retirement
- It can improve our physical and mental health, protecting us from the risk of depression
- Develop new and existing skills as well as ICT skills training as part of volunteer induction, including the use of laptops and telephones in daily volunteering activities
- It helps us to improve our social skills by providing opportunities to make new friends and engaging in our local community
- Improves self-esteem and confidence
- Reduces vulnerability
What could £1,000 help Age Exchange to achieve?
- £1,000 could fund a whole day of Day Care for 35 people living with dementia & their carers
- £1,000 could pay for a one-to-one support session for 10 people living with dementia
- £1,000 could fund 50 afternoons of targeted dementia activities
- £1,000 could pay for 100 couples transport to a carers support group
Thank you for supporting people living with dementia, their carers & older people!