Learning Experiences of Older Volunteers in a Community-based Social Program for People with Dementia

Academic Article


  • This qualitative study aimed to explore older adults’ perspectives on volunteering in an activity-based social program for community-dwelling people with dementia called Stepping Stones. Semi-structured interviews were individually conducted with eight older adults who had volunteered in Stepping Stones. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to analyze interview data. Four themes related to learning experiences of older volunteers in Stepping Stones emerged. These themes include (a) self-growth and confidence in working with people with dementia; (b) understanding dementia, people with dementia, and needed support for people with dementia and their families; (c) desire not to develop dementia, while recognizing that anything can happen in old age; and (d) exercising person-centered approaches and taking on advocacy roles. Findings suggest that older volunteers gain feelings of personal growth and confidence in working with people with dementia, better understanding, and enhanced attitudes toward people with dementia through volunteering in an activity-based social program for people with dementia. Older adults will be able to fill the needs of community programs for people with dementia, while experiencing benefits from volunteering and learning in later life. Further research is needed to examine to what extent having previous dementia experiences make their experiences and learning different.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Han A; Brown D
  • Start Page

  • 225
  • End Page

  • 235
  • Volume

  • 46
  • Issue

  • 2