Volunteering in your community while living with dementia
Almond Court Care Home in Drumchapel are putting Health & Social Care standards into practice by promoting meaningful movement through their community connections.
Manager Lorna Flanagan and her team have been keen supporters of promoting opportunities to remain active and involved in the home through both structured and unstructured activity. They have also taken positive risks and built relationships in their local community in an innovative and beneficial way.
Almond Court is close to Little Fishes nursery in Drumchapel, and both services agreed that there was an opportunity to build relationships and strengthen intergenerational ties. Lorna and Helena McArthur recognised that there were two residents who would particularly benefit from the relationship as they enjoy spending time with young people. Lorna and nursery manager Michelle Bonnar agreed to test a small project where Evelyn McGinley and Thomas Rowat would volunteer at the nursery on a weekly basis.
Evelyn and Thomas now walk down to the nursery every Wednesday with Helena where they volunteer their time with the children and take part in the activities. It’s obvious how delighted the children are when Evelyn and Thomas visit the nursery, all rushing to see them and calling out their names when they arrive.
The nursery staff and care home staff have worked together to ensure that everyone benefits from Evelyn and Thomas volunteering each Wednesday, and a key part of the success of the project is understanding the needs of both resident and children.
Evelyn is happiest when she’s involved in the hustle and bustle of the nursery, such as building Lego shapes or playing Ring-a-Roses. She says that she finds the children very polite, very happy and she can be busy as they all want to play. Evelyn also said that she loves how the children all know her name. She will sometimes sit and read stories with the children too.
Thomas is happier with the quieter activities, opting to let the children come to him. The nursery staff encourage play with the younger children who tend to be quieter which he prefers. However, he enjoys talking with the older children too who like to show him what they’ve been working on. The staff have noticed how patient the children and Thomas are with each other. Outside, Thomas is more likely to engage with more active play and enjoys ball games.
This is a fantastic example of using innovative thinking and positive encouragement to promote different generations coming together and enabling Evelyn and Thomas to volunteer near their home.