Receptionist Jan Sumner is leading the way in Moreton Dental Care’s drive to support dementia sufferers and become a more dementia-friendly practice.

Big-hearted Jan is set to undergo training as a Side By Side volunteer to increase her knowledge of the condition and offer help to sufferers and their families.

Side By Side, a Wirral initiative run by the Alzheimer’s Society, aims to help dementia sufferers feel less isolated, empowering them to get out and about with the help of a volunteer.

A volunteer will offer one-to-one social contact to a person living with dementia, helping them to pursue the things they enjoy.  It might be accompanying them on a visit to their local park, the cinema or taking up an old hobby or new leisure activity, or even just having a helpful chat on the phone.

Jan was inspired to train after witnessing an elderly relative struggling to cope with Alzheimer’s Disease. She will spend six hours a month volunteering in her spare time but also feels the training will help her in her receptionist’s role, and has taken up the Alzheimer’s Society’s offer to give a talk to the rest of the MDC team.

MDC staff are now planning a sponsored walk to raise money for the charity this summer.

Practice principal Dr Paul Sherrard said: “Jan is doing a great thing.  We will all benefit from learning more about dementia, particularly in a work capacity, so that we can sympathetically adapt and provide tailored help for people living with dementia and their carers who may need more time and support.”

Rachel Meadows, manager of Side By Side based at The Laurels, Birkenhead, explained that the extra support from a Side By Side volunteer would help people with dementia do things that others might take for granted, and also help them feel part of the community.