A word from our volunteer Nisha

Volunteering for Alive!

Let me introduce myself, my name is Nisha and I have just recently started volunteering at Alive as a Marketing Assistant. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of learning about Alive! and meeting those who work for the charity.

I have been told about the great work that Alive does and how the sessions that they provide help our elders. These sessions include: art sessions, dance and movement, variety hour and guided reminiscence.

However, being told how the charity helps is very different than seeing it first-hand. Therefore, when I got the opportunity to view one of these sessions in action I jumped at the chance!

I was lucky enough to attend a reminiscence session led by Alive Presenter Nicola. At the beginning of the session I watched Nicola introduce herself to every single member taking part in the session, you could already tell that the participants valued this simple gesture.

Watching memories unfold 

The session which I attended was about food reminiscence, this used a projector and iPad which showed photos of a range of food, and also photos of places around Bristol. As most of the residents were from Bristol you could see that they gained a sense of nostalgia from seeing how little or how much aspects of the area have changed. The session continued with Nicola asking a range of questions to the residents about various reminiscence items, which led to discussions on how they prepared food and what equipment they used in the past to create their meals.

You could just tell that they were enjoying themselves and the information that Nicola had shared. Even towards the end of the session individuals were talking to one another and Nicola about their past experiences and discussing stories from their life. This created a personal experience. From watching this session, I could see that they were engaged and valued her thoughts and commitment to remembering their names.

The importance of interaction 

One of the main issues I have come across in regards to how we treat older people in care homes, is that they can sometimes be undervalued. Often although their basic needs are being provided, the social aspect of their lives is being put on hold. They can become stuck in a routine which lacks the interaction with the outside world. Alive sessions provide this interaction. For example, even after the session I attended was over, you could see everyone continuing discussions among themselves about the food which they had enjoyed when they were younger.

Having not seen before the huge impact that social interaction has on older people in care homes, it was a pleasure to see first-hand just what a difference it makes.