This National Volunteer Week, which runs from 18-24 May, Dementia Australia celebrates and thanks the more than 1,000 Dementia Australia volunteers who make a difference to the lives of people living with dementia, their families and carers.
Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said that this year’s theme is ‘Changing communities. Changing lives.’ and thanked Dementia Australia volunteers for their immeasurable impact on the broader community.
“Dementia Australia volunteers assist us to change the community’s understanding and perspective of dementia,” Ms McCabe said.
“Volunteers are integral to the work that we do at Dementia Australia and we are extremely grateful for the generosity and compassion our volunteers bring to their roles.
“Without volunteers we simply could not do all of the work that we do, so this week and every week we say a big thank you to them for their extraordinary contribution.”
Many Dementia Australia volunteers have had their volunteering commitments impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in recent months, with many regular services and activities postponed or delivered differently in order to minimise the spread of the virus.
Where possible, volunteers have been able to contribute online – with some participating in promotion of the now virtual Memory Walk & Jog and some taking part in a pilot ‘Virtual Cuppa’ program.
The Virtual Cuppa takes the place of a regular monthly walking group to provide some much-needed connection and structure for clients and their families, a chance to touch base, for them to know Dementia Australia is still there for them and an opportunity to maintain relationships.
Jan Bayley has been a volunteer with Dementia Australia for seven years, and participated in the newly launched pilot program.
“Volunteering at Dementia Australia has provided me with the opportunity to meet and work with many wonderful and diverse people including other volunteers, clients and their carers as well as Dementia Australia staff and the general public,” Ms Bayley said.
“It was such fun to be able to communicate with clients in their homes and find out how they have been filling in the last few months.
“I’ve been amazed at how well everyone is adapting to the technology and enjoying sharing parts of their lives with us – from the pictures in the background of their screen and the stories that surround these images.”
Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe thanked volunteers for their ongoing commitment.
“Their generosity and commitment is a gift and this week we have the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate our wonderful volunteers for the profound difference they make to the lives of people of all ages living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers,” Ms McCabe said.