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Making a difference - Positively Influencing the Health and Wellbeing of Salisbury Seniors

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When COVID-19 hit in late March, the social services provided for seniors in the local community via the Jack Young Centre and Para Hills Seniors Centre looked very different.

Face to face delivery of social programs was paused and literally overnight our groups went to virtual and at home delivery. Our meals service was also modified to offer takeaway meals only. This meant big changes like not being in the same room as fellow participants, undertaking modified versions of usual activities or even giving completely new activities a go. The goal of maintaining our social programs in any form we could was to ensure we had an outlet to continue to positively impact the wellbeing of our members. We did this by providing opportunities for seniors to feel connected, cared for, informed, to try something new and to have fun. Some important aspects of delivering programs in this way include that delivery happened via a variety of modes (online, via phone calls or using at home delivery packs) and relying on the trusted and strong relationships that exist between members, volunteers and the Centres. The response from seniors has been phenomenal with many indicating our work has had a positive impact on many aspects of their social, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. For those members who continued to access our meal service the ability to pop in and grab a meal and a quick conversation with staff have told us this made all the difference for them, “The meals are great and I still got to see your smiling faces”. Other members have commented “JYC offer a lot of support and we are grateful for the support. Very caring and considerate to our needs and phone calls to check up on us”.

Other feedback have included:

 “Thank you to Jim, Sue and all the volunteers who make time to see that we have lots of support. Our gratitude to the JYC and staff at the Salisbury Council. It is heart-warming to know that people care in this very stressful COVID19 environment.”

“I have really looked forward to those calls”

“Thank you for what you have done. It has not been easy for you”

“An excellent job and happy to have been involved in a small way”

“Please thank everyone who looked after me. Lunches were great”

“Thank you for being awesome”

Since July we have been successful in modifying the face to face versions of many of our programs and have been able to welcome these groups back into our centres. Some of the modifications have included reducing the numbers of people attending any one group, using larger rooms to run the groups, setting up a suite of COVID safe procedures (like temperature testing, stricter regimes of hand hygiene and reducing the number of commonly touched surfaces) and enlisting the help of our wonderful team of volunteers to help us explain and support our members in the transition to our ‘new normal’ way of delivering programs in the centre. We’ve had a great response from members about the manner in which we have opened our doors “I’m a bit frightened about going out and about too much but I’m happy to come here. You are making sure we do it safely”, “I’m so happy to be back and doing what I love”.

For updated information on activities and meals at these senior centres, go to www.salisbury.sa.gov.au/jyc or www.salisbury.sa.gov.au/phsc