Linda is recognised for helping those affected by dementia

A dedicated volunteer who is making sure that those affected by dementia don’t miss out on regular walks in their local community has been recognised.

Linda Shields was named dementia friendly volunteer of the year

We presented Linda Shields with the Dementia Friendly Volunteer of the Year award at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, September 20 for her work in improving the health and wellbeing of those living with dementia in Stirling.

Linda’s volunteering role involves leading three Dementia Friendly Health Walks a week across Stirling, promoting these walks and increasing her own knowledge by attending talks and seminars.
 
On average, Linda devotes over 20 hours a week to volunteering and there has been a 50 per cent increase in participants on these walks thanks to her involvement.
Linda said:

Walking, especially in a group, can be so beneficial in delaying the onset of, and progress of, the symptoms of dementia.


Our walks offer the opportunity to be in a safe and caring environment while enjoying both company and exercise in the fresh air.


Walkers on our Dementia Friendly Health Walks become our friends and I'm so pleased our efforts are helping create some contented, even happy, moments for them and their loved ones and carers who need this support too.


I really hope my winning this award encourages more volunteers to join us in this hugely rewarding work. 

 

Since February 2017 Linda Shields has worked alongside the Stirling Walking Network project co-ordinator to make Dementia Friendly Walking in Stirling a welcoming, supportive and enjoyable experience for walkers and their carers.
Ross McClaren, whose wife May attends a Dementia Friendly Health Walk, said: “Linda is quite simply my life line, as my wife’s health has deteriorated rapidly and her behaviour had become quite challenging.
“This has meant that she rarely wants to go out, but when Linda calls round to take her out she is much more at ease and is quite happy to go out walking with the Friday support group.
“May starts to smile when Linda chats to her and I can’t tell you what a relief it is for me to know that she can still be happy doing things with Linda.”
Linda is pictured with her award at the ceremony alongside  Joe FitzPartrick, Minister for Sport, Health and Wellbeing.

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