‘I wanted to do volunteering as I have worked with elderly people as a speech and language therapist and as I had some time I wanted to spend time just chatting as I can’t do that in my job! I have also done a counselling course recently and I think it’s a shame that so many people are isolated nowadays and thought I could use skills I gained on my course to be a good listener. I also thought it would be nice for me to meet an older person where I live as I have no family in the area and it has helped me feel part of the community more.
I have gained a lot from talking to Olive. She gives me a different perspective on life in that she is looking back over the years and is so proud of how her children have turned out. It has made me appreciate my own family and my children more. I find it interesting to talk to her as she has dementia and I find myself often checking back with her that I have understood what she means as sometimes her meaning is not totally clear – I enjoy doing this as I like a bit of problem-solving! She has made me appreciate the little things in life, like being able to get out and about as she can’t do this anymore. It has also put things in perspective more for me – I can see myself in the future sometimes when I talk to her and it makes me want to make the most of what life offers.
She is good company for me too and I enjoy her sense of humour – she is always telling me to keep out of trouble!
I quite enjoy seeing her in the day room at the home because I know some of the other elderly residents there are listening to our conversation and I hope they gain something from it too. It has given me the opportunity to chat briefly to a couple of them whilst I am there and to chat to members of staff a little too.’
A lovely account from Tamsyn, a volunteer befriender. If you want to find out more about becoming a befriender, or know a lonely older person who may need a friend, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0161 942 9465