Supporting people with dementia and their families in rural Victoria: report of a community volunteer program

Dementia Program evaluation Rural and remote communities Rural health Volunteering Workplace training Community health Victoria

This report outlines the rural volunteers for carers of people with dementia training program and evaluates its impact on carers, volunteers and health services staff. It discusses establishing and evaluating a training scheme for volunteers to support carers of people with dementia in two rural communities in Victoria, Australia (2018-19).

Key messages:

  • Volunteers were engaged into existing local health services volunteer support mechanisms.
  • Carers provided explicit and tacit criteria for participating. They variously wanted a volunteer of a particular gender, a volunteer with online skills and did or did not want people as volunteers that they already knew, in the small rural community.
  • Volunteers were generally satisfied with the training and information learned. A particular benefit was meeting like-minded people in their community.
  • After volunteering for 12 months, volunteers reported enjoyment; specifically, from meeting new people and providing support to people in need.
  • The program was useful and appreciated but requires commitment from local health services to support it and strong partnership working with local service partners.
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