Appoint a facilitator to learn the program, set it up and be available as a contact person for the visitors in the program to call as needed (this could be a volunteer also).
Train interested volunteers about how to participate in program. (see inservice)
Schedule visits between a resident with dementia and a compatible visitor for about one hour per week, or more if desired, at a mutually agreed upon time. Try to match resident and visitor common interests and experiences.
This may be done by inviting interested residents and volunteers in small groups to an afternoon or evening social. Introductions are made and conversation about known topics of mutual interest is facilitated by the coordinator of the program.
The volunteers are asked to use the social hour to listen attentively to the different residents and try to get to know something about them. This should help the volunteers to decide who they would like to talk to more. People are naturally attracted to some people over others, and positive associations develop spontaneously. Associations can be continued if volunteers choose an interested partner to visit weekly in the program.
Visits take place wherever both the visitor and the resident can be comfortable and have privacy.
The time, place and number of visits should be mutually agreed upon by the resident and visitor.
As the relationship develops and the seasons change, the location can be varied as desired. The resident might want to show the visitor around the inside or outside of the home or have the visitor take part in an activity with him/her.
The visit should always be one of achieving a supportive, interactive relationship between the visitor and the resident.