International Women’s Day 2020

More than 360 guests, predominantly women, attended Co.As.It.’s high tea for International Women’s Day (IWD), Saturday 7th March.

This year’s IWD theme of #Each for Equal stressed that individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.

Attendees were treated to addresses from Hon. Grace Grace, Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations, Lady Mayoress, Nina Schrinner, Co.As.It. CEO Dina Ranieri and keynote speaker, Belinda Cox, Communities and Partnerships Program Manager from the Brisbane Domestic Violence Service, who delivered a highly informative and poignant speech about the current state of domestic violence in Queensland and nationally.

Prior to introducing Ms Cox, Ms Ranieri gave a well-received address highlighting the potential threats posed to aged care workers, who are predominantly women, from the spread of coronavirus, and the role of women, as the mothers of future generations, in combatting the unacceptably high rates of domestic violence.

Of course there was time for fun and frivolity too, with sponsorship from Italiquore, fashion parades by Designer Emporium and ModnamarKa and more than 35 raffles drawn. Funds raised went to a very worthy cause, Co.As.It.’s dementia and carer support program.

FREE “Stay Active” Classes – Postponed

Our FREE “Stay Active” Classes are postponed until further notice.

Co.As.It. physiotherapist, Leonie, runs an exercise group suitable for people aged 65 years and over. The program is aimed at optimizing strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility. Enhance your overall wellbeing and delay age-related stiffness. Ideal for those able to mobilize without the use of a walking aid, walker or wheelchair.

FREE Stay Active Classes. Every Monday. Postponed until further notice.

9.30am to 10.15am

The Community Place 20 Clark Street, Wooloowin


Co.As.It. Community Services was one of many aged care providers that attended the annual Care Expo at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in South Brisbane (BCEC) on the 4 and 5 October. The expo was aimed at providing an opportunity to discover and connect with providers from aged care, disability and in-home support through to education, mobility, mental health, social and recreational services.  

Michelle Calabro from Co.As.It. Community Services was a guest speaker at the event – ‘How to Navigate Aged Care Services – Choosing the Right Provider’. Her presentation was delivered to an enthusiastic audience with standing room only. Many attendees asked questions during the presentation, indicative of a significant need for knowledge on how to access aged care services. Michelle spoke openly on accessing a program called Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). CHSP is an entry level home help program for older people who are mostly – but not completely – able to live and cope on their own.

Michelle explained that the “CHSP is interim funding for low needs care services, often when an individual is on the waitlist to be assigned a Home Care Package (HCP). The CHSP is considered an ‘entry-level’ program as it provides (low intensity) small amounts, or single service or a few services to a large number of older people who need only a small amount of assistance”.

The HCP program provides the second tier of support in the aged care system. The idea of the program is to provide a coordinated and tailored service to help older people with more complex care needs to continue living independently and happily at home. There are four levels of Home Care Packages, with each level providing a different subsidy amount dependent on the individual’s care needs.

The Home Care Package holder will have to choose a provider to host their package, who will develop a care plan and individualised budget that will be used to deliver the care and services the individual needs.

“With a HCP you get your own funds to use and can decide how to spend it, rather than choosing from a menu. A ‘Care Coordinator’ helps you understand the system and work out a Care Plan that suits your individual needs and preferences. Once you have a package, it stays in place for the long term. Your eligibility is assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).” Said Michelle.

Michelle mentioned that “many organisations will ‘broker’ services to another provider because they do not have the organisational mix to deliver services across the board like Co.As.It. does. The benefit of going to an organisation that has its own workforce of allied health professionals, nurses, occupational therapists and of course Community Care Workers (CCWs) all under the one roof means consistency of care for the client. An organisation like Co.As.It. has more control to deliver the same worker to the client minimising changes. This is one of the benefits of choosing an organisation like Co.As.It.”

The presentation detailed the new Aged Care Quality Standards and Charter of Aged Care Rights that the Government launched on July 1. These standards make sure that clients receiving services have rights and a high quality of life right through to their twilight years.

The Care Expo was attended by a mix of families, seniors and people living with a disability. Many exhibitors specialised in aged care and NDIS services and it was a fantastic event across the board.


Co.As.It. Community Services organized a combined trip with North and South clients to the Central Gardens flower show in Toowoomba. The trip took place on 26 September 2019.

An early departure was set for 7.30am with many clients arriving early and full of enthusiasm. The groups listened to Italian music on the bus ride heading up the highway – some sang along to the Italian songs and others cheerfully listened. The two groups met for morning tea at the Coffee Club in Plainlands at 9am for a morning tea break.

Coffees and cakes were served by an enthusiastic staff and there was a lot of catching up with friends and relatives during the morning tea break. The groups then boarded the buses again heading to Central Gardens in Toowoomba to attend the annual Flower Show. The Flower Show was a highlight – enjoyed by all – with time spent observing, identifying and admiring the gorgeous flowers.  One of the gardens had parsley growing as a feature in between the flowers! The group discussed how the parsley could be used to make crumbed “cottoletti” for dinner that night!

The weather held out to allow all to enjoy the beautiful surrounds. The groups were then picked up by the bus and taken to The Cube Hotel were everyone experienced a lovely sit down lunch with an alternative drop of chicken and mushroom crepe and crumbed fish and chips. A delicious desert of either ice cream and waffle or cream puffs and strawberries was then served.

Back on to the bus with the final stop being at Point Lookout that had the most stunning views of the mountains and valleys below.  The aerial view of the flower show was breathtaking. Some clients had afternoon tea, some went for a short walk and others just sat around and enjoyed each other’s company.

At 3.30pm the buses departed for home and again the groups enjoyed Italian music – some clients had a snooze and others discussed the day. All clients shook hands and thanked Co.As.It. Community Services for such a great day. Most clients asked during and at the end of the trip about the next outings as they were wanting to book again.

Spectacular Brisbane Views

As part  of Co.As.It.’s regular social outing program, in September, over 60 clients from both Brisbane north and Brisbane south enjoyed a stunning  viewing of Brisbane from the Kangaroo Point Cliffs  before  driving out to the Greenbank RSL Club for a  delicious lunch.

The day dawned clear and bright and a wave of enthusiasm embraced the groups as they boarded their transport  to go to Bar Spritz  for morning tea.  This café is located in a pivotal position on the Brisbane River and is highly elevated to afford patrons outstanding views of the city skyline.  On arrival,  the clients were met with genuine delight by owner Sam and his vigorous grandfather Salvatore who at 93 yrs old continues to be an active member of the business.

The group was treated like royalty with a delicious morning tea of jumbo-sized cannoli, nutella doughnuts and a lovely array of  other delicious Italian sweets. The ‘best coffee in town’ was served  by  young Italian speaking staff who charmed the group while providing great service.

The resident large Australian lizard who is a regular guest at many tables soon ambled along for his cut of crumbs and left overs fascinating  many patrons who took photos of the special attendee.

Two energetic ladies dared to walk down and back up the 107 steps to the river and proudly returned to crow about their extensive climb.

Following the skyline experience, the group feasted on a generous seafood lunch at Greenbank RSL – the Grange Buffet has a reputation for providing an exceptional dining experience.

With laughter and food, the guests revelled in each other’s company and some were lucky to walk away with some extra pocket money after winning on the pokies.

Bert Makes Full Recovery

At the end of January 2019 our physiotherapist Allison visited a new client by the name of Bert who had an acute episode of low back pain at the end of 2018 which landed him in Wesley Hospital to determine the cause and to help manage his symptoms. “By the time I met with him he had rested for a few days but he was afraid of moving” said Allison. He was missing his walk to the shops and there was still some pain. The original goal was to help him progress his wellness so he could go back to the gym. After 5 physio visits, Bert was back to walking to the shops and back from his home. The round trip was nearly 2 kilometers and the driveway is quite steep. In June this year, Allison heard from Bert’s family again as he was a little unsteady during a recent walk to the shops. Some of the symptoms pointed to an episode of mild vertigo and the plan this time was to get Bert a walking stick. After 3 visits Allison’s goal was to walk to the shops with Bert to make sure he had made a full recovery. On the walk she was inspired by his recovery and the distance he covered. He walks to the shops and back up to 4 times a week. Bert recently celebrated his 91st birthday


During Senior’s Week in August 2019 Co.As.It. Community Services orgnised two trips to the Ginger Factory and Buderim Tavern in Yandina on the Sunshine Coast. The southside clients went on Monday 19 August and the northside clients went on Thursday 22 August.

An early departure was set for 7.45am with many clients arriving early and full of enthusiasm. The day was warm and sunny and the groups listened to Italian music on the bus ride heading up the highway. There were 46 clients from the northside group and 24 clients from the southside group.

The groups travelled directly to the Ginger Factory where they had morning tea of ginger scones and coffee. The iconic Ginger Factory offers fun rides, fascinating tours, a unique retail precinct and cafe surrounded by beautiful sub-tropical gardens for all to enjoy. Free entry and open seven days a week – it was the perfect location for a trip.

Whilst on the train, the groups became child-like and enjoyed the adventure. The train ride goes through 9 hectares of lush sub-tropical gardens on the historic train called “Moreton”. Now over 100 years old, Moreton was an original sugar cane train working at the Moreton Sugar Mill in Nambour, and now spends its days taking people on tours of the Ginger Factory grounds.

The groups departed around 11.30am for the Buderim Tavern where they had a delicious lunch with great service and an even greater view of the ocean. After lunch, some clients played a game of cards, others ventured to the main street to enjoy shopping and a short walk. At 3pm the groups departed for home listening to music and many clients sang songs. The groups arrived back to base at 5pm.

Senior’s Week Health & Technology Forum

Safety Switches demonstration at the Health & Technology Forum

On Wednesday 21 August 2019 Co.As.It. Community Services hosted a Health & Technology Forum for Senior’s Week thanks to support from COTA (Council on the Ageing). The event was geared towards people in the community who are over 65 years of age, wishing to learn more about technology, social connections, staying active, electrical safety, POA’s (Power of Attorneys) and how to arrange an advance health directive plus much, much more. In essence, the topics were specifically designed to share knowledge that is vital to our community. Good timing, given the current state of the health system and our ageing population.

The forum was attended by over 140 guests and was held upstairs at the Gaythorne RSL from 10am until 12.30pm, followed by a lunch in the banquet room until 2pm. The guests were welcomed by eMcee Sharon Smith who is the Team Leader Care Services Coordination at Co.As.It. Community Services. The event had special guest speaker Brett Harrison, HSE Business Partner from Energex who shared information on how to ensure appliances are replaced and the importance of safety switches. Homes that are over 15 years old may not have safety switches installed.  A safety switch is an electrical safety device specially designed to immediately switch the electricity when electricity ‘leaks’ to earth at a level harmful to a human. These devices offer a high level of personal protection from electric shock.

Electrical security and safety has been a long-term concern for the welfare of the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) clients Co.As.It. supports. It is not unusual for our community support staff to visit homes where there are multiple adapters attached to one power board, wires snaking over floors and appliances often doubled up and running through multiple power boards. Fundamentally, it has been identified that in this target group there is a limited understanding of electric safety i.e. circuit breakers and other safety devices.  

Another special guest speaker, Antonio Palella, Principal Solicitor from PHV Law shared examples of what may happen if legal matters are not put into effect prior to the death of a loved one. He discussed POA’s, and described the importance of having a Health Care Directive. A health care directive is a document that outlines treatment decisions that a patient has asked to be followed if they become unable to communicate or make decisions for themselves.

Other topics included keeping active, how to maintain social connections by Laura Panarello Counsellor/Dementia Support Officer, how to access aged care by Stefania Di Lione, Regional Assessment Service and Michelle Calabro, Home Care Package Intake Leader, how to stay active by Diana Barreto, Allied Health Assistant, navigating technology and how to avoid scams by Cintia Paolino, Community Services Officer.

The event ended with generous applause as the guests were appreciative of the valuable information. Another highlight was the delicious meal of alternate offering of fish and chips and salad, or roast with vegetables, with traditional Italian music compiled by Cintia Paolino. The guests enjoyed the extra time for socializing and the Gaythorne RSL team ensured each person enjoyed their day.  

For more information on electrical safety, social connections, staying active and/or how to navigate aged care services, please contact

If your home was built over 15 years ago and you would like information about safety switches please contact

To attend FREE technology classes in Newmarket or Carina please contact

For more information on advanced healthcare directives please contact