31 January 2020

Program launched to involve seniors in their community and limit loneliness

| Michael Weaver
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Senior members of the community

Senior members of the community at the launch of the Involve 2020 program at Belconnen Community Service. Photo: Belconnen Community Service.

A new program being run by Belconnen Community Service has been launched to get seniors involved in improving their mental and physical wellbeing, and reducing levels of loneliness.

From storytelling sessions between schoolchildren and elderly residents, to encouraging physical activity, the Involve 2020 program targets growing concerns about social isolation among older people.

With the federal government’s most recent Intergenerational Report highlighting the increase in the population of Australians aged over 65, the Belconnen Community Service program incorporates activities that can improve elderly people’s connections into their community.

Involve 2020 was launched this week by Belconnen Community Service, and the program’s coordinator Claire Manning said activities will improve seniors’ computer skills, and encourage mental stimulation and exercise.

“Over the next six months, we are piloting programs which all focus on social inclusion and wellbeing,” said Ms Manning said.

“A program that we are particularly excited about is the timeless stories initiative, designed to strengthen community connections between schoolchildren and older Australians through collaborative storytelling.

“We know about the power of storytelling especially as a medium for intergenerational linkages.”

Timeless stories will see Involve participants recount a story from their lives to primary, secondary and college school students who will then be invited to respond to the stories in their own way.

These responses will be connected to the curriculum and could include poems, songs or artworks.

The stories and responses will be collated into a book that will be distributed to participants and their families as a keepsake.

Claire Manning and Gordon Ramsay

“We are piloting programs which all focus on social inclusion and wellbeing,” says Involve 2020 coordinator Claire Manning (left) with Minister for Seniors and Veterans Gordon Ramsay. Photo: Michelle Kroll, Region Media.

Other programs include I Can Do IT Myself, which is a short course in smartphone technology and social media use.

The Virtually Here, There, and Everywhere initiative is a virtual reality experience centred on travelling to popular destinations using virtual reality technology.

Not So Rotten Tomatoes is a movie review and lunch club, while Walkie Talkies encourages social walking.

A coastal retreat and trip to Sydney are also planned for participants.

“In May we go to Sydney to enjoy the Vivid lights and in March we are planning to support our South Coast friends with a retreat to Tathra,” Ms Manning said.

“We had planned to go to Tathra before the disastrous fires and now we are even more determined to head to the coast and enjoy all the area has to offer.”

Involve 2020 is accepting registrations from participants registered with My Aged Care and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme. Email involve@bcsact.com.au or call 6264 0200 for more information.

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