50s Lifestyle

Staff step in as volunteers

THE ongoing pandemic has forced the cancellation of many activities which brought seniors together but Canterbury Bankstown Council staff are working closely with social and community groups to help them keep people connected and active.

Council’s active ageing officer Maria Athanasopoulos says they have been offering support to local organisations and providers to see what activities they can continue to run safely.
The council has also distributed about 2,000 gentle exercise booklets to seniors through Meals On Wheels, libraries, community groups and neighbourhood centres.
Ms Athanasopoulos and other council staff had also filled in some of the gaps left by volunteers who have had to step down due to their age or other reasons, including doing meal runs to support the Meals on Wheels team.
“It’s been a real eye-opener for a lot of staff that don’t have that exposure to the senior community,” she said.
“It’s good for them to see people living in isolation and to see what the need is out there in our community.
“I’ve been helping out since the beginning, and I continue to take a couple of hours out of my day. I find that I get a lot out of it and I’m able to give something back to the community. I’ve really enjoyed it.”
One other positive outcome has been the increasing number of older residents embracing technology even though they may have been frightened of it prior to the pandemic.
She added that they are well aware that not everyone is comfortable using the internet or mobile phones, and next month will also run information sessions on scam awareness.
Ms Athanasopoulos’ advice to anyone feeling isolated, is to call their local library or reach out to the council’s development staff to see what services and support they can offer.