Older people are being reminded that they have the opportunity to embrace community this Christmas and New Year period. The Council on the Ageing SA (COTA SA) have compiled a list of tips to help stay connected and truly enjoy the festive season.
As the peak body for those aged 50 and over, COTA SA is the voice for a diverse demographic of 700,000+ older South Australians. They have a focus on improving the lives of over 50s and reshaping the perception of ageing.
COTA SA Acting Chief Executive, Miranda Starke, understands how the holiday season can be a difficult time for older people. She has provided a range of ways to stay connected and be involved with community during what can be a difficult time for some people.
“While Christmas can be a time of family and social events for some, it can also be a lonely time,” she says.
“Connecting with others in various ways helps to alleviate loneliness and isolation over the festive season, and feel a stronger connection to those in the community, is so important.”Miranda Starke, COTA SA Acting Chief Executive
“From volunteering, joining an exercise class, or chatting with a stranger at the park, COTA SA’s range of options meets the diversity of our demographic,” Miranda says.
COTA SA offer various programs and groups that can assist in improving connection at Christmas time:
Joining COTA Visitors
A meaningful volunteering role offered within the COTA SA community, allowing volunteers to make a lasting friendship with an older person either living in a Residential Aged Care Home or requiring Aged Care in their own home.
For more information visit COTA Visitors
Joining an exercise class
Strength for Life offers exercise classes for balance and social connection. The popular sessions for older South Australians are held in around 100 venues across the state, to ensure older people keep active, maintain physical and mental well-being and make friends in a fun environment.
For more information visit Strength for Life
Signing up to The Plug-in
The Plug-In is COTA SA’s social enterprise, where older people can be involved in surveys and focus groups, and share their thoughts on a range of issues and have an influential voice to improve products, services and policies.
For more information visit The Plug-In
Listening to the Voices on Ageing Podcast
The Voices on Ageing Podcast is a podcast by COTA SA. The podcast offers lots of great tips for how people can reconnect with their community and improve their well-being.
For more information visit The Voices on Ageing Podcast
Becoming a member the Fleurieu Neighbourhood Network
The Fleurieu Neighbourhood Network is recently launched program. For those located in the Southern Fleurieu (from Victor Harbor to Goolwa) this program offers walking groups, talks, excursions and information about ageing well, all while providing the opportunity to create connections with others in the community.
For more information visit Fleurieu Neighbourhood Network
Other ways that older South Australians can harbor a sense of community this Christmas include:
- Joining a local group or attend community activities. Find out what is available in your neighbourhood by visiting your local community centre, library, council office or the local shopping centre noticeboard, newsletters or in the local paper.
- Listening to the radio and phone talkback. This allows individuals the opportunity to partake in current events and community issues.
- Exploring the outdoors. For those who can get out and about, go to a cafe or a park and strike up a conversation with someone.
- Volunteering within their community. Many organisations are looking for new volunteers in all sorts of roles. More than 1200 volunteer roles are available to view on Volunteering SA NT’s website.
- Calling Friendline. Friendline is open from 10am-8pm, 7 days a week, and provides people with the opportunity to chat with an anonymous volunteer about anything that they wish. People can call them on 08 7078 6229 (free call 1800 424 287).
- Checking out the LiveUp website. This is a not-for-profit organisation funded by the Australian Government, with a comprehensive list of exercise classes, product suggestions and local groups to support people over 65 in healthy ageing