Danushri Srinivasan: How Small Things Make a Big Difference
Posted on 14 Apr 2015
Recent research shows that 57% of further education students in the UK are taking part in social action. In this guest blog, we hear the story of one of those students, Danushri Srinivasan, and the positive impact she is making in a local care home.
Danushri is a student in the lower sixth at Westcliff High School for Girls, and has been volunteering every Wednesday afternoon at Admiral Court Care Home, in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, for the last six months. She works closely with residents living with various stages of dementia, some of whom unfortunately don’t receive many visitors.
Danushri has had a passion for medicine and helping vulnerable people since she was 12. Admiral Court care home was built while Danushri started attending Westcliff High, which led her to research dementia in her Health and Social Care GCSE coursework, interviewing carers and team members at the care home, as well as getting a tour of the home, which inspired to begin volunteering there on a regular basis.
So how does Danushri help out in the care home? Each Wednesday afternoon after school she leads the arts and crafts projects as part of the care home’s programme of activities. The activity starts with Danushri and a member of the Lifestyle Team and other volunteers interacting with each resident, showing them arts and crafts materials and encouraging residents to take part. Some residents can be hesitant about their ability to take part, however Danushri and the care team try to ensure all activities are as inclusive as possible.
Each activity is given a theme, for example making shamrocks for St Patrick’s day, daffodils in the Spring and cutting leaves to create decorations in the Autumn. Over the Easter break, the residents painted eggs.
As a result of her role in the arts and crafts sessions, Danushri has become instantly recognised by the care home’s dementia community and enjoys a great following, which is an incredible accomplishment as in a dementia care setting, trust is paramount.
Danushri has also learnt a lot from the experience. “Volunteering at Admiral Court has taught me that it doesn't take big efforts, or spending a lot of time, or even money to make a difference. Small, simple efforts can go very far, which are things that I used to overlook before. Things as simple as short conversations about nothing in particular, walks up and down the home and holding hands to reassure someone can really make a difference.”
The rest of the team at Admiral Court recognise Danushri as a great asset to the home, her school and her local community. Sarah Savidge, Lifestyles Team leader at Admiral Court said, “Her dedication and obvious ability to kindly befriend our residents while also actively encouraging other students to volunteer at Admiral Court, is highly commendable.”
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