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Seniors staying social during COVID-19

Released on 22 May 2020
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Prior to COVID-19, the City of Salisbury’s three senior centres would welcome many participants for their range of programs through the doors each week.

After the centres were required to close in March in response to the pandemic, Council needed to identify creative platforms for connecting with senior members of the community.

A new model developed by Council and dubbed the ‘Salisbury Seniors Social Connect Project’ has allowed for the continuity of the important social services provided by the centres under the Federal Government’s Community Home Support Program through virtual and digital platforms.

Mayor Gillian Aldridge OAM said that it had been particularly important to maintain connections with the senior members of our community throughout the ongoing pandemic, when people were more at risk of social isolation due to distancing measures.

“Our Connect project began with our volunteers contacting members with some basic welfare calls to make sure they had access to essential items like food and medicine but it quickly grew to be much greater,” Mayor Aldridge said.

“Through those calls we identified that about 80 per cent of those people who usually participate in face-to-face social groups were interested in taking part in virtual versions.”

Virtual options for activities that City of Salisbury is trialling include:

  • Creative writing group sessions
  • Rock and Roll and Dance for Health sessions
  • Theatre group
  • Painting and drawing – the facilitator has started a private online group where people can post their work and get feedback and support
  • Ukulele lessons and practice
  • The meditation group are accessing online resources
  • A private Salisbury Seniors Community Facebook Group is available for connection
  • Zumba classes
  • Online quiz
  • Chess and backgammon
  • Strength for Life
  • Cycle Salisbury social rides – riding a bike individually inside or outside to meet the challenges that are set weekly online.

For those who are unable to access the technological options, there are also a number of additional projects to keep seniors feeling well-connected and busy, including:

  • Telephone check-ins
  • Walking and cycling tour around Australia - a ‘virtual’ challenge where you can convert your steps (and other activities) into kilometres and compare the distance
  • Activity packs (these contain riddles, puzzles, quizzes and information)
  • Wood burning from home
  • Knitting, crochet and craft groups all making items from home
  • An opportunity to be part of our yarn-bombing project
  • Conversation starters – a tool for lively and interesting conversations
  • “How does your garden grow” project – delivery of flower seeds that members can grow at their home and share progress as a group
  • Quilt patch project – where members are sent blank quilt square patches to decorate at home, then the patches will be collected and collated into a quilt.

For more information about these activities, please contact the Jack Young Centre on 8406 8525 or email jyc@salisbury.sa.gov.au