Personalised Training: The Wildlife Trusts and Volunteers Living with Dementia

A laptop showing many people on a video call. A green mug sits beside the laptop.

Our free, tailored training session for The Wildlife Trusts focused on how organisations can adapt their approach to their volunteers living with dementia. With the right support, people with dementia can remain dedicated, valuable members of the volunteering team long after diagnosis.

An Entirely Personalised Webinar

Volunteers and people living with dementia walking in the garden of a stately home.

When the Wildlife Trust contacted us about our training in the run-up to Dementia Action Week, their broad idea was for all 46 of their sites to take part in a general session about dementia. After discussion with our Training, Research, and Development team, a central area of focus became clear: their team of volunteers. We worked with them to devise a training session on how to support existing volunteers who are diagnosed with dementia, as well as those who care for someone living with dementia, with the aim of helping them to continue in their volunteer role.

Thinking about how to support your volunteers when dementia becomes a reality for them could mean thinking about initial steps after someone is diagnosed, how to approach someone if you start to see a change in them you’re concerned about, or what you can offer if one of your volunteers tells you someone they love is living with dementia.

Consider a Webinar with Dementia Adventure

“We’re really good at listening,” emphasises Deborah, our Head of Training, Research and Consultancy. “We work out where an organisation is, what their goals and objectives are, and help them identify what they need. Then we work with them to create support that is meaningful and has a lasting impact. That’s often built around a simple conversation and just listening.”

Smaller organisations often don’t have the capacity for making grand, sweeping changes to their entire volunteer structure. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth considering a plan for volunteers who may develop dementia. Small steps can make a big difference, and a one-on-one conversation can help identify what they could be. 

Our Managing Risk and Nature Experiences event in September is a perfect opportunity for you to consider your organisation’s on-site risks for people with dementia and what can be done to mitigate them. It provides a great starting point for going on to talk to us about creating something individual for your organisation.

Identifying Changes Your Organisation Can Make

A man watering plants with a watering can on a sunny day.

If you’re part of an organisation in which volunteers play a vital part in your work, we can look at how you’re supporting them and think about tweaks that can be made in the event that a volunteer is diagnosed with dementia. There are some universal things that can be done to help make volunteering work for people living with dementia, like giving fewer instructions in one go, but every organisation will have their own particular challenges to consider.

“With the Wildlife Trust, they wanted some information about supporting people,” explains Deborah. “We started with the principle, and value of what we could do for them.” Whether you’re supporting volunteers or looking at a different aspect of supporting people living with dementia, we’re flexible enough to be able to meet you where you need us to.

“We don’t just bring something down off the shelf, dust it off and deliver it. Every single time we will focus on the issues an organisation is facing and how they can overcome that. Those bespoke packages will never be the same old training, because it’s designed for that specific organisation.”

Interested? Your Next Steps

Dementia Adventure’s 30-minute consultations give professionals the chance to find out whether working with Dementia Adventure is right for them. They’re for anybody providing a nature-based service and looking to make it accessible to people with dementia.

We’re also holding a Managing Risk and Nature Experiences event in September, with a small fee charged for attendance. This event is aimed at people who haven’t considered on-site risks to people with dementia before. It provides a great platform to start thinking about managing risk in preparation for an individual conversation with us.

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