23 January 2023

Woden Community Service connects seniors in the community through groups and fun activities

| Evelyn Karatzas
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people sitting on the deck of a boat

Woden Community Service seniors on the MV Southern Cross lake cruise. Photo: Woden Community Service.

Calling all seniors in the Canberra community – if you’re looking for a safe space to make new friends, participate in fun activities and socialise with others, Woden Community Service is here to help.

Woden Community Service seniors groups aim to connect older Canberrans through a range of regular activities including walking and fitness, shopping, watching movies, chatting over coffee and more.

WCS social support coordinator Sandy Van Der Toorn said the groups helped to connect people in the community, widen their friendship groups and keep them happy and healthy.

“We want to help give people purpose, a reason to get up and get dressed in the morning,” Sandy said.

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“As you get older, it’s very easy to become isolated and lonely and it can then create depression and sadness.

“There’s been a lot of people who’ve had difficult things occur in their past, so we want to encourage people to join our groups and connect.

“It’s lovely to actually think, ‘OK, I am on my own, but I’m not 100 per cent on my own’, and they can go out and have a busy and full day making friends and building relationships which might then extend beyond the groups.

“We want to encourage people to come along to these groups, meet people, make new friends and do fun things together.”

inside shot of the MV Southern Cross with passengers sitting down for morning tea

Woden Community Service seniors on the MV Southern Cross lake cruise. Photo: Woden Community Service.

The groups are for people aged 65 and over (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, 50+). Sandy said there were several groups the seniors could join.

“There’s the Strength for Life fitness program, supported by COTA ACT, to get people strong and balanced and we have a nordic walking fitness group which helps maintain people’s fitness,” she said.

“We’ve got a Tuesday and Friday group that heads to the Harmonie German Club from the morning till about 1:30 pm to socialise and participate in activities such as talks, games, trivia, quizzes, art lessons, music, dancing, movies, crafts and outings.

“We also hold men’s and women’s coffee groups and shopping groups where we take the seniors for shopping to Mawson, Woden or Cooleman Court once a week.”

There are about 100 people involved across all the groups.

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Sandy said WCS aimed to help seniors to interact with people again.

“If they haven’t had that social interaction for a while, this is a lovely way to come back into a group situation,” she said.

“You’ll also get one or two brilliant volunteers who are lovely to talk to as well and they give a lot of quality to the groups.

“The seniors also don’t have to come every week, they can pick and choose the activities and groups they want to be a part of.”

Sandy said to get involved seniors first needed to contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to get an over-the-phone assessment, prior to joining the groups.

To find out more information about the groups and activities on offer in Canberra, visit Woden Community Service, or call (02) 6282 2644.

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