Become a Volunteer Befriender

What’s Involved?

The Western Alzheimer’s Befriending Service matches volunteer Befrienders with a compatible companion who has dementia at the early to moderate stage in the Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon areas. The volunteer befriender typically spends 2-3 hours every week in or outside the family home thus facilitating the primary carer to take a break. The support will range from companionship in the persons home to partaking in shared interests such as going for a walk, going for a coffee, having a chat, playing a game, or looking at old photos.  Continuity of the relationship is of paramount importance and volunteers will be selected partly on their capacity and willingness to make a long-term commitment. 

Full training, induction and support will be provided.

What makes an appropriate match of companionship?

  • Befriender fully understands the role – sitting in, offering support and shared interests
  • No personal care required
  • Has a natural compatibility with the person- similar histories, work experience, politics, from the area etc.
  • If possible, Befriender has formal or informal experience of dementia
  • A person who ‘wants to give back’

What others have to say about the Befriending Service

Speaking about the service, Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, stated: “On World Alzheimer’s Day 2022″, it is wonderful to celebrate an initiative which has improved the wellbeing of people living with Alzheimer’s in Ireland. For people living with dementia, it is so important that they feel connected with their community, but equally that this community connection continues, and results in reduced stigma around the disease. I’d like to commend the Western Alzheimer’s project and all the volunteer befrienders who have so improved the quality of life of people living with dementia in the region by simply extending their companionship. 

My mum was losing her confidence and getting withdrawn. I also was struggling to get a break from caring for two parents and my own children. Since getting her befriender my mum is like a new person, she is so much happier. She is getting out of house, getting to go on walks and to visit places she likes. It keeps her fit both mentally and physically. It sets her up for the day and gives me, her carer a break.

Rita Family Carer

As a Befriender I gained so much. There were lots of parallels between the person living with dementia and myself. We were both living alone, had shared interest, we both had worked in similar professions and similar locations. We shared many interests, stories, and life experience. I gained a true friend.

Mary Befriending Volunteer

What’s required for this position?

Personality attributes for this role: Kind, caring, compassionate, patient and a good listener. Dementia awareness an advantage but not a requirement as training will be provided. 

Level of English required for this role:
Intermediate to good levels of English.

Location of volunteering opportunity:
Across all areas of Mayo and Galway and Roscommon.

Times and commitment required for this role?

Minimum duration commitment: 6-12 months.

Minimum time commitment: 2-3 hours once per week.

Feedback commitment: to return a brief Befriender Record of activities monthly/ bimonthly of visits

Screening details for this role

  • Garda Vetting
  • Informal Interviews
  • References
  • Application Form
  • Identification Check (photo ID etc

Mandatory training requirements:

  • Safeguarding
  • Confidentiality etc

Age restrictions:

  • Over 18

Benefits you will receive as a volunteer

  • Being part of a team that supports a worthy organisation in the community
  • Caring skills will be enhanced
  • Caring skills in dealing with a person with Dementia will be enhanced
  • A new friend with Dementia
  • New friends in the family carers
  • Training opportunities

If you would like to become a Befriender with Western Alzheimers 

Contact Caroline on 0873694477 or email 

Click on the links below to download application forms and return to the office in the county you wish to become a Befriender.