Community forum launch

By Sonia Isaacs

Maintaining social connections is essential to our wellbeing, and for many of our Seniors having access to meaningful connections and companionship through engaging social support programs can become vital to happy aging. With social isolation and loneliness often identified as key areas of concerns for those in our community aged over 65, activities and outings that boost opportunities for social connection are prioritised by our local aged care support service providers.

Community based, not-for-profit organisation Glasshouse Country Care recently held a Client Feedback Day to find out what activities and outings clients would like to see featured as part of their long-running social support program. Currently the organisation offers clients a wide range of interesting and fun activities and outings that include weekly Hoy games, mystery bus tours, beach lunches, country drives and monthly themed sunset social drinks.

General Manager Clare Mullins said over the last few years the need to have access to social connections for many of their clients had become even more imperative.

“Anything we can do as an organisation to alleviate isolation and loneliness and provide our clients with an opportunity to build networks and connections with others is important to us. We found that especially after COVID, people had been a bit fearful of socialising again in the community, so it’s been lovely to see our clients returning to enjoying outings and activities,” said Clare.

Glasshouse Country Care operate three buses that service a client pickup and drop off footprint that takes in the areas from Beerburrum to Maleny, Peachester to Palmview and Mooloolah Valley. Some activities such as HOY and the monthly ‘sunset socials’ are held at the organisation’s day centre at Beerwah, with other activities such as visits to Eumundi Markets, coastal boat cruises, and cafes and restaurants are organised across the coast where clients can choose to drive themselves to participate, or opt to be picked up and dropped off home by the dedicated bus service.

“Our monthly sunset social afternoons are lovely events that both our staff and clients enjoy. Weather permitting, we sit outside and enjoy a glass of wine, cheese, and nibbles together, chat and catch up. It’s an easy way to socialise in a relaxed way that many of our clients used to enjoy in their younger years – they can meet others, have a few drinks, and be dropped back home afterwards – we always have great fun!” said Clare.

One of the new program ideas that has emerged from the Client Feedback Day last month is the plan to launch a Seniors Local Community Forum over the coming months. Clare said that the forum, once established would be a community-led collaboration with Glasshouse Country Care to not only help improve their services, but also to assist local seniors set up a peer support group that could address issues they might be facing in the local community such as concerns around accessibility at a local business, or ways to improve services for Seniors in both the local and wider area. Clare said the forum is something Glasshouse Country Care are keen to get off the ground and launch early in 2023.

“We would like to support the voice of our local seniors, we could provide the momentum for the idea, the facility and administration support and we welcome interest from our local community members and Seniors over 65 to get involved,” said Clare.

If you would like to register your interest in joining the Seniors Local Community Forum, or if you would like more information about services, activities, and outings please contact Glasshouse Country Care on 5494 6948 or visit https://www.ghcare.org.au/supportservices

Last year’s ‘Spooky themed’ October Sunset Social event. Day Centre Christmas themed event. Eumundi Market visit.