Feel the ben­e­fit of be­friend­ing ser­vice

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

A GER­RARDS Cross man has called on more peo­ple to be­come friends with de­men­tia suf­fer­ers to take ad­van­tage of re­ward­ing ben­e­fits .

Dan has re­cently joined the Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety’s be­friend­ing ser­vice, which aims to en­cour­age more peo­ple to join as a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion.

Eighty-five per cent of peo­ple with de­men­tia say that they strug­gle with iso­la­tion, lone­li­ness and de­pres­sion, and some also feel less con­fi­dent about do­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties they usu­ally enjoy.

This pi­lot ser­vice pro­vides com­pan­ion­ship and suf­fer­ers are matched with peo­ple de­pend­ing on their per­son­al­ity and com­mon in­ter­ests.

Dan said: “Be­friend­ing has many ben­e­fits – for the per­son with de­men­tia it’s an op­por­tu­nity for more so­cial­is­ing and ac­tiv­ity, for the carer it’s valu­able down­time and for my­self it has been ex­tremely re­ward­ing.”

He added: “The train­ing days for be­com­ing a be­frien­der were use­ful in them­selves and the time com­mit­ment in­volved is min­i­mal.

“I would whole­heart­edly rec­om­mend it.”

A new group be­friend­ing scheme is be­ing pi­loted in Ayles­bury next year, which aims to sup­port peo­ple with de­men­tia to still be able to ac­cess their lo­cal com­mu­nity.

One of the Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety’s long-stand­ing vol­un­teers Val said: “I lost my hus­band about four years ago and wanted some­thing to do – I’ve been here ever since. It’s a happy group and it’s nice to know you’re help­ing in some way.”

An­other vol­un­teer Hazel said: “I lost my hus­band to Alzheimer’s about eight years ago and be­cause of the in­put and help from Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety at the time of his ill­ness, I made friends and I went into vol­un­teer­ing as a way of so­cial­is­ing.”

Vol­un­teer Mary added: “There are lots of smiles and the car­ers al­ways ap­pre­ci­ate what we do.”

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