We recruit volunteer Dementia Befrienders on a regular basis to help people with dementia live as well as possible in their own homes and local communities.
About the Bromley Dementia Befriending Service
The Bromley Dementia Support Hub Befriending Service supports people with dementia to stay active, interact with others and live as well as possible with dementia. The service provides people with dementia with social interaction and support to increase their confidence and ability to live in their own homes and local community.
Activities are specific to the assessed needs of the person with dementia and are decided with their agreement. They could include:
- Support to continue with hobbies and personal interests or to discover new ones.
- Support to participate in local leisure and community activities.
- Support to carry out day-to-day activities such as a walk in the park or a shopping trip.
- Providing a break and respite from caring duties for family and friend carers.
Reasons to become a volunteer Dementia Befriender
As well as contributing your time and experience to improve the lives of people living with dementia, you may benefit through:
- Increased confidence.
- An opportunity to learn new skills and boost work opportunities.
- Giving something back to your local community.
- A feeling that you are making a difference.
What we need from our volunteer Dementia Befrienders
We need you to:
- Have patience and empathy.
- Be committed to delivering a high quality service.
- Be able to commit time on a regular basis.
- Have good communication and listening skills.
- Know about or be willing to learn about dementia.
- Attend our induction, follow-up training sessions and six-weekly team meetings.
- Commit to being matched with a person with dementia over at least a six-month period.
- Have a commitment to work with people from all backgrounds with dignity and respect.
- Undertake a full Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
What you can expect from us
As a volunteer Dementia Befriender with us, you can expect:
- Induction and ongoing training.
- Support from the Volunteer Befriending Worker.
- Peer support from other volunteer dementia befrienders
Florence and Charlie's story
Charlie was motivated to volunteer with the Bromley Dementia Support Hub due to family experience of dementia some years ago.
Charlie volunteers around her flexible working hours and visits Florence, who lives with memory loss, every week.
After being widowed a few years ago, Florence moved from the coast to the Orpington. She had lived there many years before, and still had family in the area. She now lives a few streets away from Charlie.
Florence always makes Charlie a cup of tea, and the two share “lovely chats” about, among other things, the different places they have lived, including overseas. Both of their families relocated to Cornwall for a life by the sea, and they have discussed this experience at length. Florence always has lots to say and has an excellent memory of her family’s adventures.
Florence is also very fond of Charlie’s dog, Betsy, which stays in the garden during visits.
“Charlie is a very nice lady and I look forward to her little visits. It’s just lovely to see her.”Florence
As a Dementia Befriender, Charlie is giving Florence the confidence to feel more positive about her new home and to get to know her area a bit more. Last October, they both attended the Big Birthday Street Party, a celebration for the Bromley dementia community held at Crofton Halls, Orpington.
“I have absolutely loved volunteering from the second I started. Florence and I spend time together each week talking and laughing. She never lets me leave without telling me how much she looks forward to our meetings each week, which makes me so happy.”Charlie
Alan and Bryan’s Story
After retiring, Alan began visiting Bryan, who has dementia and lives a few streets away.
Following a career in building refurbishment, Bryan still takes an interest in the outside world, particularly the exteriors of buildings. He is a physically active man who likes to be on his feet and, as a former carpenter, is very happy pottering around with bits and pieces.
With this in mind, Alan has taken his lead and makes sure that he and Bryan go out and about on his weekly visits. This is a challenge during winter, but even then Bryan is keen to go out. They take the dog for a walk, visit the local pub, take a bus to a café in Bromley or to the garden centre at Swanley. If the weather is really bad, they play board games at home.
Bryan benefits from some male company with someone who understands dementia and has patience and understanding, and Alan benefits too by developing a good friendship with Bryan and being physically active.
“I enjoy my time with Bryan and I am happy to volunteer two hours of my week to take him out. It’s also good to give his family a break from their caring responsibilities.”Alan
The Bromley Dementia Support Hub is always looking for Volunteer Dementia Befrienders to offer one-to one companionship for people recently diagnosed with dementia, to support them with activities in the home and local community.
The need is great, and while we welcome both men and women, we would like to see more men coming forward.
“Our befriending service depends on volunteers giving a few hours of their time a week to spend with people with dementia. Without befriending support, many people experience loneliness and isolation, both of which have been recognised as harmful to health. The service does help people diagnosed with dementia have more social interaction, increasing their confidence, do more and live as well as possible with dementia.”Eleanor Beardsley, Volunteer Befriending Worker with the Bromley Dementia Support Hub