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Project to help older people in Fife celebrates its first birthday

Published on 06/09/2013

RealLiving staff and service users.

A project to help older people with symptoms of dementia and to reduce social isolation in Dunfermline and the West Fife villages has celebrated its first birthday with a fun day for volunteers and service users.

The project, RealLiving’s Older People’s Service was initially set up to help reduce social isolation in older people in West Fife. It received funding from the Reshaping Care for Older People Initiative and the Community Interventions Fund and referrals from Fife Council Social work and Fife Elderly Forum.

The service recruits and supports individuals to become volunteers who can then be matched with an older person to help them attend a social group, provide help with simple practical tasks or just to meet to go shopping or go out for a coffee. The project’s ethos is that by building connections, the capacity of the older person and the wider community is expanded.

The project has been very successful with 25 volunteers supporting 30 older people with referrals from Queen Margaret Hospital’s Occupational Therapy Units for Older People & Mental Health.

The project now also runs a weekly drop-in café, originally established in partnership with Alzheimer’s Scotland, which provides information, advice and support to people who have been diagnosed with dementia and to their carers. The café gives those diagnosed with dementia the opportunity to get out of their homes and engage with the local community whilst offering a valuable respite to their carers - who are in most cases family members.

The cafe is run by four volunteers from RealLiving and has proved extremely popular with 20 people coming each week to take part in activities such as reminiscing songs, seated exercises or reciting poetry as well as enjoying home baking and a chat.

Donald Dowds, a RealLiving volunteer, says: “The café provides a place for elderly people to come and meet others who are in similar situations. As a volunteer we have the joy of seeing their faces light up when they are picked up to take them to the café as they usually are at home on their own all day.

I get great satisfaction knowing I have helped someone (even if it is only two hours a week) and I believe there is no greater joy than to give.”Andrea Sharp, RealLiving Older People Service said:

“The RealLiving Older People’s project has been a great success over the past year. It seemed only right to have a fun day to celebrate the project’s first birthday as well as raising awareness of the café.”

Find out more

The project is always looking for volunteers to help out and donations to keep it running.  If you would like to volunteer or donate some money, or would just like more information about the project, then please contact Andrea Sharp on 01592 644048.

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