David urges others to stand ‘Side by Side’ people with dementia

St Louis Grammar school pupil David Byrne who volunteers for Alzheimers Society.
St Louis Grammar school pupil David Byrne who volunteers for Alzheimers Society.

St Louis Grammar school pupil David Byrne has joined Side by Side, a service run by Alzheimer’s Society, where volunteers help a person with dementia to continue or rediscover hobbies or activities they love.

David, 17, who joined as a volunteer in July is committed to raising awareness about dementia and hopes to recruit likeminded individuals to extend the reach of the Society’s wide ranging support facilities.

David said: “I became involved with the Society because I have faced the effects of dementia first hand and I wanted to help those living with a diagnosis to maintain their quality of life. I watched elderly relatives worry about missing buses that didn’t run, begging to go home to somewhere that no longer existed and fret about forgetting names. It was heart breaking. My family and I felt powerless as to how we could help. That’s why I was delighted when I contacted the Alzheimer’s Society and realised that they offer a plethora of support services for both individuals with dementia and their carers.

“Despite having volunteered for a number of charitable organisations in the past, I felt called to offer my support for Alzheimer’s Society as a testimony to the incredible work they do. Both my own experience and what I have learnt about dementia have had a profound impact on me and that’s why I have decided to offer my services as a Volunteer Recruiter.”

In Larne, where David lives, Alzheimer’s Society is leading the change through the introduction of the ‘Side by Side’ service through which volunteers get the opportunity to help a person with dementia rediscover themselves through doing what they love whether it be a stroll, a game of golf or a bake-off.