After walking past Anam Cara House for many years, Mandy knew very little about Anam Cara’s services until she attended one of the organisation’s fairs with her mother. “We discovered what Anam Cara was all about and mum said she would like to take a closer look. When she got really sick and her cancer came back, mum ended up joining the Day Hospice program and she stayed there a fair bit,” said Mandy.
After Mandy’s mother sadly passed away, she decided to return to Anam Cara, but this time as a volunteer. During her time volunteering at Anam Cara, Mandy has developed a strong interest in caring for people with dementia. “We have a lot of guests who have dementia and I was keen to come up with a few ideas that might interest them and keep them engaged.” “Since then, I have taken a few dementia courses run by Anam Cara to further my understanding of ways you can help with people suffering from dementia.” “It has given me knowledge on what to say and what not to say – It’s really interesting and I just love it, plus it has given me a new lease on life and something to do!”
When caring for someone with dementia in Day Hospice, Mandy explains there needs to be an extra special approach to care. “It is a slightly different approach for guests with dementia as sometimes they become more restless and you need to adjust the activity a bit for them to keep them engaged.” “All of the guests are great and it’s just fantastic that we can cater for people who have dementia as well as guests from all walks of life,” she said.
Mandy has many fond memories of her time volunteering at Anam Cara, but like many of our volunteers, it’s often the simplest experiences that leave a lasting effect on them. “I think being in the room with the guests or even just sitting at the kitchen table with them and seeing their laughter is so fulfilling – they give back as much as what we give. “Just to be able to sit there and have beautiful conversations and seeing their eyes light up when they arrive is just beautiful.”