Move Mates proves to be so much more than a walking buddy service

A volunteer talking to an older beneficiary.

Our volunteer Move Mates are pairing up with people all over the city enabling them to get out and about when they otherwise might have felt housebound. The walking buddy scheme is all about supporting people who feel vulnerable or lack the confidence to go out on their own.

Most of our beneficiaries just want a gentle walk and a good old chat; it is all very easy. But sometimes we come across a situation that isn’t quite as straight forward.

Take Move Mate Heidi’s* first experience with Patricia*.

Heidi arrived at Patricia's door and was somewhat taken aback to find her not properly dressed, complaining of being hungry and cold and with the back door wide open.

Heidi had had previous experience with people living with dementia and recognised some of the issues she was facing. She made a judgement and came in to help Patricia. She shut her back door, helped her finish getting dressed, found some bread to make some toast and got her a cup of tea.

After a little time, Patricia felt much less distressed and was able to go out for a little walk around the block with Heidi.

After the visit, although a form is always filled out to record each visit to a beneficiary, Heidi decided to call up our Move Mate Coordinator directly to tell her of her concerns for Patricia when she arrived.

The coordinator called up the referrer, in this case, Patricia's son, who, although he saw him Mum regularly, had not realised she was less able in the mornings than she used to be. He quickly organised a care worker to come in for a short time every morning to ensure Mum was fed, dressed and comfortable at the start of the day.

Patricia’s son said

I’m so grateful (you alerted me), as I was able to contact the carers promptly. Mum very much enjoys her little walks out and I’m sure the fresh air and exercise help her to sleep better at night. Thank you so much for your time and kindness.

The following week when Heidi went to visit, it was like meeting a new person. Patricia was neat and tidy, fed and hydrated and raring to go.

Heidi’s visit, and her concern for her beneficiary acted as an early intervention for Patricia, enabling her son to identify some new needs his Mum had and to provide effective support that she required.

And we at Move the Masses were very happy to have helped with that.

* names have been changed