The weather may be gray, but our autumn vacation care program promises two weeks packed with fun and activities!
Our vacation care at Gardeners Road Public School welcomes all primary school aged children from across the Greater Sydney area.
June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, an opportunity to talk about abuse and neglect suffered by the elderly members of our community, how to recognise the signs and how to prevent it.
“The physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders is more common than we would like to think”, says Kate Melhopt from South Eastern Community Connect, a not-for-profit community support organisation in Eastlakes.
“Many of our seniors are isolated and marginalised, and we need our community to look out for them. If an elderly neighbour is being neglected, mistreated or showing signs of deteriorating well-being it is time to step up”, she says.
Warning signs to look out for include;
And for the elderly;
Neighbourhood Centres like South Eastern Community Connect offer many services free of charge that are aimed at preventing elder abuse.
“We can offer help with banking and bill paying, and can pick up any financial red flags. We have volunteers who visit our clients in their homes to build and maintain relationships with the elderly, and to pick up any concerning changes in mood and behaviour. Our aged care workers also act as another set of eyes and ears when it comes to warning signs in the daily life of the client” Ms Melhopt explains.
“The most powerful tool in preventing elder abuse is, however, supporting and maintaining a wide network of relationships with caring neighbours, friends, family, support workers, health professionals and other organisations that will be able to pick up the warning signs”, she says.
To discuss how our services can help you build that strong safety net and hands-on support, call South Eastern Community Connect on 8338 8506 or contact your local neighbourhood centre.
If you experience neglect or abuse, or know of an elderly person being abused or neglected – speak up. Call the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline on 1800 628 221.
There are many things on the bright side of ageing that can make your days even more fulfilled. Join us for an expo with hands-on activities, make new friends and find out more about the services in your area.
It was a full house when the Eastlakes Community Centre opened its doors for this year’s Welcome Dinner.
Close to 100 people arrived last Friday, carrying plates of their favourite meal to share with new friends to be. South Eastern Community Connect, joiningthedots, Bayside Council and Sydney Multicultural Community Services jointly hosted the event with a grant from Multicultural NSW.
The Welcome Dinner Project is an opportunity for those who arrived in Australia less than ten years ago to meet the locals over a pot luck style dinner. The chats and laughs shared over plates of scrumptious food foster friendships and connections among people from diverse cultures and walks of life. Newly arrived Australians include migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and international students. The projects aim is to break down barriers and celebrate diversity.
As people walked in they were welcomed and invited to share in a few words what they were passionate about. With every table having a mix of newly arrived and established communities, the ice broke quickly as people talked about their different passions.
Each guest had brought a dish that reminded them of home and shared something about their dish, their culture and themselves. There was an amazing smorgasbord of dishes including delicious and mouth-watering deserts to please even the most discerning palates.
Whether you came from an established community or a new arrived, there was no doubt a great welcoming atmosphere created by everyone sharing and showing hospitality and celebrating everyone’s uniqueness and individual contribution to our multicultural community.
“In the current climate where there are so many forces that try to divide us, we helped our community create a different story – one which is accepting and welcoming and promotes more connected , peaceful, resilient and productive communities”, says Vida Tebyani, Family and Multicultural Manager at South Eastern Community Connect.
At the end of the night, guests wrote down one word to describe how they felt about their experience, and some of the comments included: “lucky”, “Happy”, “Grateful”, “inspired”, “hopeful”, “fulfilled” and “Welcomed”.
Many participants came forward offering to host a Welcome Dinner in their homes and engage their friends and neighbours to embrace collective diversity and interconnectedness. We thank them for their generosity and community spirit! To find out how you can join in or to register to host a dinner in your home, head to www.joiningthedots.org
The Mayor of Woollahra, Toni Zeltzer, visited The Cottage in Rushcutters Bay to spend a morning with the staff and clients of our dementia day centre. The Wentworth Courier accompanied her and photographer Danny Aarons captured her (right) playing bingo with our clients.
At the morning tea clients met not only the Mayor but also a group of dementia nurses and other allied health professionals from St Vincent’s and Prince of Wales Hospitals.
The Mayor, who originally noted she only had about 40 minutes in her tight schedule ended up staying nearly two hours, playing Bingo and trivia with clients and talking to staff about the Cottage.
The Mayor heard that the comfort of the clients could be improved with new blinds, which she immediately organised. She felt a new kitchen would be a great improvement and that air conditioning would also be make the Cottage more comfortable especially in summer.
The heritage harbour front property is managed by the Council and leased to South Eastern Community Connect to provide therapy and support for members of the community with dementia.
“Up to twelve people visit us every day to spend time enjoying each other’s company, engage in therapeutic activities including art, and to stimulate mind and memory”, says Amy Drewe, the Cottage's coordinator and diversional therapist.
The results of the therapy program at 'The Cottage' speak for themselves. Regular assessments of the clients shows that for most of them deterioration clearly slows down during their time at 'The Cottage.' Five clients recently returned the same or even slightly better results on their cognitive tests.
'The Cottage' is for people who have been diagnosed with low-medium level dementia. Amy assesses new clients with a loved one or carer of a prospective client, to see if 'The Cottage' is a suitable environment for the person’s medical needs and personal interests. Where possible she matches them with clients that share common interests or histories.
For those who attend The Cottage, door to door transport, morning tea and lunch are provided, at a cost of $30 per day. The Cottage currently has vacancies on several days.
To book an assessment of for further information contact Amy Drewe on 02 8971 9012 or visit the Cottage page on this website
Next Friday, bring a plate of food from your culture and make new friends from around the world - at the Welcome Dinner!
South Eastern Community Connect has received a grant of $49,002 from Bayside Council to launch a new mental wellbeing program in the community.
Titled 'Community Wellness Mentoring and Empowerment Program' the project will deliver training for up to 30 members of the community to develop the skills and feel empowered to support those more vulnerable members of our community.
Participants could include community members, local business owners, carers, community workers or agencies/service providers in both health and non- health related services, or neighbours of people affected by mental health issues.
"We want to give community members the skills and the knowledge they need to recognise and support community members with their mental health recovery journey which includes assisting them to meet their mental, physical, social and emotional needs, explains Vida Tebyani, Manager of Family and Multicultural Programs at South Eastern Community Connect.
"Mental illness concerns us all. It is not a visible condition, but it is present in all parts of our community. When mental health deteriorates without intervention and support we see families become unstable, elderly become isolated and employees struggle in their workplace. The mental wellbeing of the people in our community affects us all, and we need awareness, compassion and skills to support the vulnerable and our community as a whole", Ms Tebyani adds.
The program will have two components, one being the support training provided through a qualified trainer, the other being a suite of community wellbeing workshops which will respond to the expressed needs and interests of residents and people with mental health issues. These programs foster good mental health and resilience, healthy lifestyles, community engagement and help promote networks of social support at a local level.
"Over a period of two years we hope to see this program kickstart a transformation of our community to become more inclusive and more focused on the recovery of all who are affected by mental illness", Ms Tebyani says.
Photographic portraits from our community are now on display throughout Eastlakes Shopping Centre.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our photo project - the portraits look fantastic and showcase our diverse community, the friendships and the neighbourhood spirit throughout the generations.
Come and see the display! Photos are on show at;
Here are some of our portraits: