• All threads and posts regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 can be found in our area specifically for Coronavirus COVID-19 discussion.

    You can directly access this area >here<.

Involvement in the community

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
4,997
0
Nottinghamshire
Hi @Phyl S I hope the meeting goes well today and that whatever the outcome you are at peace with it.
I totally agree that people should not be excluded because of disability, but I also think you need to be aware when that disability has an impact on what they are doing. For instance I'm severely deaf, and although I do various volunteer things I pick what I do carefully. I would never consider a parent and toddler group, as one I wouldn't be able to hear what the children were saying a lot of the time, and two I'd be totally unaware if a crisis was happening in another part of the room.
I think doing things in the community is so important. Are there other things the two of you could get involved in instead?
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
884
0
@jugglingmum, the parents are supervising their children and, in @Phyl S's case, she will be supervising / keeping an eye on her husband. I appreciate that the situation is different, and might be more problematic, if a PWD is attending some sort of group alone. In that case, someone at the group might need to take responsibility for him/her and there might not be anyone who wants to do this.

I disagree with you that volunteers should not need to be supervised or managed. In well run groups there will be some sort of 'line management' function / someone in charge who will step in if there are problems and to whom volunteers will refer if issues arise. Groups do not run themselves and there is a need for far greater accountability than there was years ago when things were more informal and casual.

I am not saying that all people with dementia can volunteer. It depends on the severity of the disease, the particular behaviours exhibited, the context and the support available to him/her. I just don't think that people should be excluded from community settings and volunteering just because they have a diagnosis of dementia.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
6,336
0
Chester
I am not saying that all people with dementia can volunteer. It depends on the severity of the disease, the particular behaviours exhibited, the context and the support available to him/her. I just don't think that people should be excluded from community settings and volunteering just because they have a diagnosis of dementia.
You seem to have misread the main point of my post. I agree with this but I think that many dementia behviours that should be tolerated in wider society are not acceptable within a toddler group and therefore was highlighting this. Therefore I am saying it is necessary to find out what the issue is as not all people with dementia can volunteer and if issues are being raised by parents at the group these need to be taken into account. After all the group is being run for the benefit of the parents and toddlers not the volunteers.

Volunteers should not need to be managed for inappropriate behaviours within a setting where other vulnerable people (young children) are present - in the context of young children the inappropriate behaviours are very different from in the context of a charity shop - as inappropriate behaviours can cause harm to the children if they take place.

There was a marked difference between how my 4 and 6 year old nephews could cope with my mum's behaviours when she was playing with them and how my 8 year old son coped due the comprehension that they had due to their age. My 12 year old daugher understood much more and was able to support us in managing my mum's behaviour around my 8 year old.

the parents are supervising their children
You obviously attended different toddler groups from the ones I attended - if I took my children to a public play park I had to keep a close eye on them at all times - if I took them to an indoor official toddler activity the purpose of going was in part so I could relax more knowing they were in a safe contained space and didn't have to watch their every move. I could trust other adult leaders to be providing some supervision and didn't have to worry about other adults in the room. This was the point of attending these activities to give me a bit of breathing space. If parents are having to keep a close eye on the interactions of an adult present with their children in the way they would in a public park then the group isn't fulfilling it's function of supporting the parents and they will vote with their feet and go elsewhere.

It very much depends on the context of what is happening but my mum's behaviour when my son was 4 was not acceptable in this context and I didn't take her with me again.
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
884
0
@jugglingmum, not all people with dementia will display inappropriate behaviour, certainly in the early stages. As you know, many people with dementia can come across as very 'together' for short periods of time, hence many carers' experiences of people saying things along the lines of 'he's very good' or 'you wouldn't know she has Alzheimer's'.

Parents are responsible for their children at toddler groups and should be supervising them. Volunteers are not there to supervise other people's children. Many groups are run in church halls which have not been designed for young children like a day nursery and there are some potential hazards e.g. the open door to let people in, hot drinks for the adults, sand, paints and toilets, access to other parts of the building. Adults attending should not have to worry about how the volunteers are interacting with their children but until concrete examples of inappropriate behaviour are given it is pure conjecture that there is a problem.
 

Phyl S

Registered User
May 24, 2022
12
0
@Phyl S, I don't know where that guidance was from. I assume that it came from the safeguarding unit or whatever it is called of the church central authority. That was a few years ago now and things may have changed. In any event, if an up-to-date DBS check is the only barrier to your husband's presence then one can be applied for.

@jugglingmum, I agree that toddler groups are run for the benefit of the parents and carers and children but they should be able to accommodate volunteers and users who are neuro-diverse, have mental health problems or have dementia. Would you exclude an autistic parent or a volunteer who discloses that s/he is schizophrenic on the basis that s/he is a bit 'odd' or something might happen? It is key that the adults are attending with, and are supervising, the children in their care. It is good for children to learn that there are different types of people living in our communities. In certain European countries there are nurseries and care homes on the same site and the children and the care home residents spend time together, which is considered beneficial to everyone. Of course, if behaviour is genuinely unacceptable in the setting of a toddler group then a person with dementia will have to be asked to give up his/her role.

I think that @Phyl S will need to ask for precise details of the so-called red flags and any concerns which have been raised which amount to more than mere narrow-mindedness.
It was a very depressing meeting. I was told that my husband might fall over a toddler or inadvertently pick one up.
Any person could accidentally fall over a toddler. After 45 years of teaching and 20 years of fostering, my husband is the embodiment of appropriateness, gentleness and he is a lot of fun.
They were not interested in the positives and benefits that form part of an intergenerational, inclusive community activity.
I am very sad.
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
884
0
@Phyl S, I am sorry to read this. As you say, anyone can trip over a toddler. With your husband close by it's highly unlikely that he would pick up a toddler. I wonder who flagged up these possible risks.

You might have good reasons for wanting to continue helping out at the group but, equally, it would be entirely understandable if you decided that you wanted to give up after how you and your husband have been treated. If you decide to give up tell the managers - and the church leadership, if it's a church-run group - why you're going and remind them that the organisation is supposed to be inclusive and non-discriminatory. Let those managers lug that furniture around!

There will be plenty of other opportunities for you and your husband to volunteer together.
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
12,549
0
Southampton
its sad they can only see the negatives and none of the positives of children mixing with the older generation. some carehomes have found that having the children involved with residents helps both. this could be prejudice about dementia and not understanding the condition or wanting to. or could be litigation that they are worried about or insurance. a bit short-sighted especially as it was dementia week last week.
 

Phyl S

Registered User
May 24, 2022
12
0
@Phyl S, I am sorry to read this. As you say, anyone can trip over a toddler. With your husband close by it's highly unlikely that he would pick up a toddler. I wonder who flagged up these possible risks.

You might have good reasons for wanting to continue helping out at the group but, equally, it would be entirely understandable if you decided that you wanted to give up after how you and your husband have been treated. If you decide to give up tell the managers - and the church leadership, if it's a church-run group - why you're going and remind them that the organisation is supposed to be inclusive and non-discriminatory. Let those managers lug that furniture around!

There will be plenty of other opportunities for you and your husband to volunteer together.
Thank you for the time you have taken to be so helpful - and hopeful
 

Phyl S

Registered User
May 24, 2022
12
0
its sad they can only see the negatives and none of the positives of children mixing with the older generation. some carehomes have found that having the children involved with residents helps both. this could be prejudice about dementia and not understanding the condition or wanting to. or could be litigation that they are worried about or insurance. a bit short-sighted especially as it was dementia week last week.
I appreciate your input, and your encouragement. I live in a place where there are many opportunities to be useful, which is good. Best wishes to you