Since March, when life as we knew it was turned upside down, social media has been filled with pictures of sour dough bread and other home cooking delights. An onlooker could be forgiven for assuming that the whole world is consumed with cooking and making music videos. Not everyone, however, is focused on food. Co.As.It.’s NDIS participant, Lillian Northcott has maintained social visits from her community care worker Mara, so she is not totally isolated.
The two pass the time playing board games and chatting. When the physical distancing measures were first introduced, Lillian turn her hand to a craft activity. Lillian is now whiling away the hours painting terracotta pots, a past time that lets her creativity flow. While Lillian says the pots are a work in progress, it’s obvious that they brightens the lives of all who see them. Lillian is keen for the restrictions to be lifted, but in the meantime she’s enjoying her original creations and says she finds painting a relaxing hobby.
For more information about Co.As.It.’s NDIS services, contact Paola on 3624 6100.
Anyone who’s visited a supermarket lately will have noticed that it’s becoming more difficult to practice physical distancing. Clearly some people haven’t got the 1.5m message and others seem to be on a mission to get up close and personal. Steering a trolley down the aisles is like driving a dodgem car with obstacles coming out of nowhere.
Fortunately, Co.As.It. client Edith Levai doesn’t have to worry about playing distancing dodgems, as she and her husband are having their groceries delivered to their door by Co.As.It. staff, under the Queensland Community Support Scheme (QCSS).
“Edith and her husband found shopping very stressful during ‘lockdown’ with an increase of panicked drivers in car parks” said Bridget Nucifora, QCSS coordinator. Co.As.It. has responded to the restrictions by being creative with the services it provides, in order to cater to individual client needs like Edith’s.
Under QCSS, support is available to people aged under 65, who have a long term disability, chronic illness, mental illness or other condition that impacts on their day to day functional capacity and ability to participate in the community. For more information about these services, call the coordinator, Bridget Nucifora on 07 3624 6100.
One of the many advantages Co.As.It. Community Services can offer clients is access to a variety of services, including allied health and nursing. For one home care package client, Phyllis, this advantage has been truly life-changing.
Getting into bed had become so difficult for Phyllis that she was reliant on her husband physically supporting her to lift her legs. The situation clearly reduced Phyllis’ independence and created an added responsibility for her husband. Once her Care Service Coordinator became aware of the predicament, she arranged for an occupational therapist to visit Phyllis.
The solution was simple, lower the bed. The legs of the bed have now been adjusted and Phyllis is delighted with her newfound freedom. A simple referral to one of Co.As.It.’s many professionals can have a profound improvement in a client’s quality of life.
With weekly telephone calls replacing face-to-face visits to Italians in residential aged care facilities, Co.As.It. Community Volunteer Service Co-ordinators, Sarina Campbell and Luisa Ruggiero-Foote decided to round up a few local children to remind the 20+ Italian residents at Regis Aged Care Lutwyche, that they hadn’t been forgotten. Luisa and Sarina enlisted the help of 6-year-old Amira to deliver a load of brightly coloured posters to Debra Dorgan, Lifestyle Co-ordinator at Regis, to brighten the residents’ rooms.
The restrictions CVS is facing of social distancing and isolation especially for the elderly are in direct contrast to the intentions of the CVS program, which are building connections and companionship (a special friend) through regular physical visits by matching a volunteer with a client/resident.
Home care package client Joe who lives alone enjoys his visits from his CVS visitor Perry. Joe’s face usually lights up when Perry arrives at his home. Over a cup of coffee that Joe proudly prepares by setting the table with a table cloth and good china, he reminisces and recounts the stories of this family immigrating from Italy in the early 1930s and becoming a pioneer cane cutting family in north Queensland for many years. Joe delights in sharing his many stories and achievements from throughout his life. He also likes to share poems that have inspired him during his life.
Since COVID-19, speaking over the phone with the CVS coordinator Joe said he is alone with his cup of coffee and Rosary beads and that’s how he spends his days. Perry has now transitioned to recreating and continuing his visits through a regular phone call with Joe to assist him to stay connected and offer any social support he may need.
Normally new volunteers and clients are matched through a physical meet and greet visit with the CVS coordinator but due to protecting the health of our elderly community at this time, this process is not possible. With the coordinator’s encouragement and assistance, new volunteers have been initiating the first contact with their new client/resident by phone on their own. This is a new territory for the program’s coordinators and volunteers. In essence, they are the trailblazers that will go down in history for adapting, trialing and implement a new way of achieving the goal of how can we keep helping the vulnerable in our communities keep connected. Our goal is to support well being.
Below is an extract from an email received from the first new volunteer who introduced herself to her new client via telephone after receiving coaching from the client’s carer regarding her background and interests so that the volunteer had a brief knowledge of the client’s past life experiences.
“The phone call with Cora went really well! It was very easy to talk to each other and she’s a very funny, talkative lady. Without knowing it, you matched us perfectly as we have a lot in common and share very similar interests. She was very grateful and we both decided we will continue to talk on the phone until we can finally meet :)”
Seniors are hardest hit by the COVID-19 restrictions. The self isolation measures that are in place are creating challenges for many who are missing contact with grand children and their family members. New guidelines ask for seniors to remain at home. One couple that is experiencing such challenges is Maria and Luigi Apolloni, who are both Co.As.It. clients and regular visitors to Casa Aurelia, Co.As.It.’s south-side social group activity centre.
As restrictions have tightened due to the virus, Co.As.It. has demonstrated creativity and flexibility in the type and delivery of services it’s providing. A new initiative has been launched called “Client Interview – Welfare Checks” designed to ensure social group activity centre clients are regularly contacted and have a chance to talk to staff in their preferred language. It was during one of these checks that Maria was identified by staff as someone who may experience loneliness and isolation as her usual support mechanisms were closed. Maria looks forward to the weekly calls in Italian, which always include the question, “When are you going to call me next?”
Co.As.It. staff members speak a total of 30 languages, so most clients can speak to a staff member in their preferred language, which is particularly reassuring in times of uncertainty and change.
Maria has compared the current situation to war times, but with the difference that she and Luigi are still able to receive important services, such as their home visits by registered nurse, Tina. Tina’s weekly wellbeing checks are a welcome break in the day-to-day routine and Maria is grateful to Co.As.It. for the services she and Luigi are receiving.
While she looks forward to catching up with staff and friends at Casa Aurelia, for the time being, Maria is happy to make the most of her weekly chats and Co.As.It. continues to find ways to support it’s clients.
Co.As.It. has closed its SGA centres until further notice, following guidelines from the Australian Government Department of Health. The decision to close centres is in the best interest of clients and staff. We will advise when services return to normal.
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
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.
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.