I have been volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Society of London and Middlesex ever since first year. I have had the opportunity to participate in many of the programs the Alzheimer’s Society held. Most importantly, I was fortune enough to work with many Alzheimer’s patients. One of the main reasons I initially started volunteering at the Alzheimer’s Society was because Alzheimer’s disease is very common in my family, and I want to become more familiar with the disease…
One of my favourite programs at the Alzheimer’s Society is Generation Link. Generation Link is a program that pairs up student volunteers with Alzheimer’s patients (the clients). The students have the chance to sit down and chat with the Alzheimer’s patients about their past: their family, friends, favourite memories, favourite places travelled, etc. In the end, the students create a scrapbook (also known as the memory book) for the clients; a book they can keep forever that can help them remember their past. This program usually runs for up to 8 weeks. The first couple of weeks consist of the students just talking to the Alzheimer’s patients, and then the last couple of weeks consist of the students helping the patients make their scrapbook. On the last day, everyone that participated in the program gathers together for a party and each group (the student with the Alzheimer’s patient) presents their memory book.
I have volunteered in the Generation Link program twice in the past; I had the opportunity to meet and work with Sister Lenora (from the Sister of St. Joseph up on Windermere) and Waldie. Both clients were amazing to work with and very inspirational. This year, I had the pleasure of facilitating the Generation Link program. I was able to assist other students (this year it was high school students) in making the scrapbooks for their clients. I enjoy this program a lot, it gives me a great break from school.
If you are interested in volunteering in the Alzheimer’s Society, the Alzheimer’s Society of London and Middlesex is located on Windermere on the Mount, and Western has their own Alzheimer’s Society as well that provide many volunteer opportunities. It is a life changing opportunity, and I encourage you to volunteer.