Volunteers helping to make experience with dementia better for others

Media release

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Click our National Volunteer Week Facebook album to check out the pictures taken at our function to celebrate National Volunteer Week

As part of National Volunteer Week celebrations Alzheimer’s Australia Vic, today, honoured the invaluable commitment by the many volunteers who enable the delivery of vital services and support across the state to people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers.

Acting CEO Alzheimer’s Australia Vic, Leanne Wenig said that most of our volunteers are involved because they want to give back after receiving our support during challenging times in their own lives.

"National Volunteer Week provides the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the role of our volunteers and to offer our sincere thanks.

“I am particularly proud that the number of regional volunteers has increased almost tenfold over the past two years.

“As well as people in Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong, our volunteers help out in Mildura, Drouin, Traralgon and Bright,” Ms Wenig said.

Every year volunteers generously contribute around 3,500 hours of activity that includes assisting in role play during education workshops with medical students and, in the Virtual Dementia Experience ™, sharing their personal stories in the media, at conferences and in other promotional materials, as event staff and an array of administrative and supporting tasks.

They provide unique, individualised support to people living with younger onset dementia, enabling them to participate in community activities and volunteering. Volunteers provide a welcoming and supportive presence at our Family Information and Support Sessions delivered in the community and residential aged care.

Volunteers play key roles on state and national committees where they are regularly consulted for their firsthand experience and feedback that influences the organisation’s strategy, policy and advocacy work.

“Our volunteers often join us in meetings with politicians and other key decision makers in our community, to help to identify and campaign for the changes needed to better support all people impacted by dementia.

“They support clients at our Memory Lane Cafes, as community speakers, are involved in many different programs and, of course, on our Board,” Ms Wenig said.

Jenni Gratton, who volunteers for Alzheimer’s Australia Vic in West Gippsland, said she felt privileged to work with clients.

“If I can assist in any way to make a person journey any easier, and help maintain their sense of self, even fleetingly, the reward is having this opportunity.

“Volunteering gives me the chance to interact with people who may have trouble mixing in new surroundings while dealing with a changing sense of self,” Ms Gratton said.

All of Alzheimer’s Australia Vic volunteers take part in induction, orientation and ongoing training. In fact, the organisation was started by a band of dedicated volunteers more than 30 years ago, some of whom are still actively involved.

Volunteering Australia’s National Volunteer Week, which runs from 8-14 May, is held each year to recognise the generous contribution of the six million Australians who volunteer each year. 

For more information visit on National Volunteer Week visit Volunteering Australia.

-Ends-

In Victoria 104,000 people are living with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic is the peak body and charity representing people of all ages with all forms of dementia in Victoria. As the peak body, we provide specialised dementia information, education and support services.

Call our National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 or visit www.fightdementia.org.au/vic

Notes to media

When writing or talking about dementia, please include our free National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 - a telephone information and support service available across Australia.

The words used to talk about dementia can have a significant impact on how people with dementia are viewed and treated in our community. Please read our Dementia Language Guidelines that have been developed by people living with dementia and carers.

Media contact: Christine Bolt 0400 004 553 / christine.bolt@dementia.org.au, Phillip Money 0427 757 434 / phillip.money@dementia.org.au