24-hour service available for those struggling with dementia diagnosesIvy Madziva
24-hour service available for those struggling with dementia diagnoses.
FAMILIES affected by dementia are being reminded about a free, 24-hour service that offers dedicated support.
Alzheimer Scotlandlaunched a helpline in 1989 and since then has provided up to two million minutes of help. The service is operated by a team of 55 dedicated volunteers, many of whom have personal experience of caring for people living with dementia.
Margaret Sanderson, from Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, says the helpline was invaluable when her mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
She said: “I already had some experience of the helpline before putting myself forward to become a volunteer to help support families living with dementia.
“Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia and being the sole carer at the time, I often had many sleepless nights of worry usually around care. Ultimately the calls to the helpline helped me to make some changes to help ease the worry of our family situation at the time.
“As a volunteer and being there at the end of the line to listen to callers who simply need to offload when they’ve maybe had nowhere else to turn to, is so rewarding. Having lived through many of the experiences, I can provide understanding that callers often find such as relief. I still find it really amazing when a caller leaves the call much calmer after talking things through, it’s the little things that matter in those moments.”
Ms Sanderson, a former civil servant, is only contracted to provide support two shifts a month but she does more because she enjoys it so much.
She said: “I really love doing it because I know what a difference it made to me when I was at the end of my tether and phoning up the helpline. It tended to be at night I phoned up. You don’t want to disturb other folk.”
Alzheimer Scotland has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the service and to raise much needed funds.
Jennifer Hall, Alzheimer Scotland’s Helpline Manager, added: “Earlier this year we celebrated 30 years’ of our unique Dementia Helpline with our team of highly skilled volunteers who are all so dedicated to helping us to make sure nobody faces dementia alone. We are there to help provide callers with a voice at the end of the line at any point in the day or night.”
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