Dementia and the Impact of Volunteers
By: Jen Hale, Manager of Volunteer and Social Recreation Services
At the Alzheimer Society London & Middlesex (ASLM), there is a team of over 240 active volunteers who assist in virtually every aspect of the work of the Society. This team of volunteers work passionately and enthusiastically. Their efforts greatly expands the capacity of the Society and enables us to achieve our mission to provide hope, relief and support as we partner with individuals and families throughout their journey with dementia. The impact that these volunteers make is enormous, and the benefits for our clients and care partners are many and varied.
Each year, ASLM honours one exceptional member of the volunteer team by presenting them with the Jan Greene Award for Outstanding Volunteerism. The award was established in memory of a former client, Jan Greene, to recognize the accomplishments of a volunteer demonstrating outstanding volunteer commitment.
This year, the Jan Greene Award was presented to Lindsey Rawlings, a recent graduate of the Health Sciences program at Western University and the Social Services Worker program at Fanshawe College. Lindsey has been a volunteer since 2015 in several areas, including fundraising events and social recreation programs. Lindsey also acted as a volunteer companion for one year for a client in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease; Lindsey has a friendly and kind disposition and is comfortable engaging with all sorts of people, and so was a natural fit to provide friendly visits to one of our clients, while offering support and respite to his care partner. Lindsey was motivated to volunteer by a family connection, her grandfather, who lived with dementia. She volunteered regularly during her undergrad and while completing her diploma while also balancing a part time job. She is a sterling example of the incredible work that our volunteers do, but more specifically, she beautifully represents the many young adults who donate their time to ASLM. Over 50% of our volunteer team are university and college students and we feel very fortunate to have such strong ties to both of London’s post secondary institutions. These young volunteers bring energy, fresh perspective and a desire to take their learning outside of the classroom and apply it in their community.
April 7-13 is National Volunteer Week, a chance to celebrate and thank Canadian volunteers for over 150 years of service to communities across the country – to all who give so generously of your time, your efforts create a positive impact on this country, and we are proud to honour you. Thank you!