We want to share with you some of the ways people become involved with our charity, be it families living with dementia, or volunteers...here are a few examples. All names (and pictures) have been changed to protect privacy.
01 - Members
Anne and Robert - via their Living Well Coordinator
Anne’s husband Robert had recently been diagnosed with dementia. They visited their Living Well Coordinator, and were given a Chrysalis leaflet. Anne phoned Chrysalis and arranged to bring Robert for a trial session (which was free). Anne and Robert’s session was pottery; they were allocated their 1-2-1 volunteer, who stayed with them throughout the session, providing support and conversation. Robert enjoyed it, and wanted to return, so they looked at the timetable and selected “sport” the following week. On returning, Anne felt comfortable enough to leave Robert with his allocated volunteer, and nipped out for a spot of shopping. Robert is now a regular member at Chrysalis, and Anne uses her time to run some errands. Anne says “The time that Chrysalis gives me is invaluable. I can’t believe I managed without it before.”
02 - Members
Dave and Christine - word of mouth
Dave does not have a diagnosis of dementia, but has been struggling with his memory for a couple of years now. His daughter, Christine, was worried that he was lonely, and becoming more and more isolated, and had heard about Chrysalis through a friend who volunteers for us. Christine picked up the phone, called 07760 124539 and had a chat with Mel. They decided that it would be a good idea to bring Dave along to a social session on a Thursday morning, to gently introduce him to Chrysalis, and to see what he thought. They spent the morning chatting to volunteers and members, and Dave booked in for a trial "sports" session. He now attends regularly, but picks and chooses the sessions that he wants to attend - sports and singing being his clear favourites!
03 - Volunteers
Kathie and Marion - from a direct request for volunteers
Kathie and Marion are members of a local church, and found out about Chrysalis from their vicar. They thought it looked an interesting opportunity, but weren't really sure it was for them; after attending a drop in session they have never looked back, and support Chrysalis at two sessions a week. "We've made a lot of friends and have a lot of fun. When you live by yourself it is nice to meet other people."
04 - Volunteers
Sylvia - word of mouth
Sylvia was recently bereaved, and her daughter, Susan, was worried that she was becoming isolated, and so was looking for activities for her mum. Her friend told her that her mother was actively involved in Chrysalis, and thought it would suit Sylvia, so Susan passed on Sylvia's number and we gave Sylvia a ring, We invited her to come and view the premises and an activity session in progress. After attending some initial training Sylvia settled in well, and now volunteers on both Mondays and Wednesdays, and says it "gives me a reason to get up in the morning!"
05 - Members
Jen and Fred - via the Fairnington Centre
Jen was attending the Fairnington Centre with her husband Fred. The Fairnington suggested Chrysalis as an activities hub, but Fred was initially convinced that it wasn't right for Jen, and there was "no way" she would settle. Fred's daughter phoned up, and booked a trial session for them both, and Jen now comes to every session that we have (and Fred comes to some too!). "I never thought she would like it in a million years", says Fred. "And I love it. I have contact with people again, as we live on a farm and socialising is difficult."
06 - Members
Don and Linda - via a hospital nurse
Don was recovering from a stroke, when a nurse at the hospital suggested to his wife Linda that they check out Chrysalis. They didn't think it would be right for them, so didn't contact us initially. In fact, it was over 6 months later that they called, and just booked a visit to see the premises. Now, a regular member, Don enjoys one session a week, and through Chrysalis, his wife Linda has made new friends in similar situations, who she meets regularly for coffee, both at Chrysalis and in Hexham. She says "I wish we'd come here sooner. I didn't realise you supported the carers as well as the members. You look after us so well."
07 - Members
Keith and Margaret - via the website
Margaret had previously taken Keith to a group in Newcastle, where she left him for the day. However, Keith did not enjoy it, and from then on was worried about being left anywhere, consequently becoming reluctant to leave the house. "I was really worried that my husband wouldn't enjoy Chrysalis Club, so I clicked on the Got-a-Question button on the home page of the website, to ask if Chrysalis had any suggestions. I made an appointment to see Gina at the premises privately, and we worked out a strategy to get him to give Chrysalis a try, that was very personal to Keith. I stayed with him for the first 3 sessions until he became confident and I was able to leave him."
At Chrysalis we take care to match up the volunteer with the member to give the best possible experience for all. We ask that the carer stays for at least the first session, or until the new member is comfortable with us - we believe that these first hours are the most important in building trust and bonds. We can also arrange private viewings of our building so the surroundings are familiar for the first full activity session.