Geelong social program keeps seniors connected
As people age, it can be challenging to remain socially active in the community. So when social butterfly Joan, 84, heard about Gateways Support Services’ Prime Movers program for seniors, she jumped at the idea for herself and her husband.
It was through attending another Gateways’ program, Café Care Connect – a weekly supportive social group with obligatory tea and biscuits – that the Highton couple discovered Prime Movers.
‘My husband had dementia, so it was a bit awkward to go places. We found it really easy at Café Care Connect, so we decided to give Prime Movers a go,’ says Joan.
Although Joan’s husband recently went into full-time care and could no longer join the program, Joan was quick to get involved as soon as Covid-19 restrictions eased.
Through a regular program of events, Prime Movers brings small groups of people who are frail aged or have dementia together to enjoy a range of meaningful leisure activities and excursions.
Team Leader, Kate, says that the program gives senior citizens an opportunity to engage with the community and make meaningful friendships and social connections.
‘Some participants have been enjoying each other’s company within the group for several years and forging fantastic friendships, and the newcomers are always welcomed warmly,’ says Kate.
‘These outings also provide much-needed rest for our participant’s primary carers and loved ones.’
The Prime Movers enjoy a range of activities, including day trips to Daylesford and Ballarat, exploring galleries and museums and enjoying pub meals together.
‘I don’t really mind where we go. We’re getting out for the day, and that’s what I enjoy. It could be anywhere,’ says Joan.
With isolation and loneliness common among seniors during Covid-19 lockdowns, Joan was one of many participants looking forward to recommencing their much-loved weekly outings.
Joan enjoys getting to know other participants and credits the staff for their ability to adapt to everyone’s needs.
‘Everyone has their individual needs, but we’re all looked after so well,’ says Joan.
‘I would definitely encourage others to get out there and give it a go. It is so enjoyable.’