Author Archives: Co.As.It.Community Services

Yvonne shares her positive experience with Co.As.It.

Aged Care Services at Co.As.It.

Yvonne Howman, 75, has been with Co.As.It. Community Services since 2019, receiving in home support such as domestic services every fortnight. Over the years, she has formed relationships with the various community care workers (CCW) who have attended to her.

“People who come are incredibly caring and friendly. They do their work, and we talk about life. They [CCWs] provide a care service in a personal way rather than just coming in, doing the work and leaving,” says Yvonne. “The carers are constantly checking if I’m all right, how I’m feeling and what I want to be done in the house.”

Yvonne says that Co.As.It. has always lived up to her needs and standards. When a CCW can’t make it, she explains, a call from the office is received offering schedule and arrangement options.
“The entire team is very caring and professional, in my view. Co.As.It. puts service where it should be because service is non-existent these days in many areas,” says Yvonne. “I have actually recommended Co.As.It. to several of my friends, and they are thrilled with the service they get.”

Currently, she receives fortnightly visits from CCW Mario Gatto – someone who makes an unmeasurable difference in her life as Yvonne has had two hip replacements and an unpredictable back.
“I love him like a son. We laugh and talk for hours. We have a personal rapport, as I have always had with all the girls and guys who have come to me. I can’t name them all, but I can say they were lovely.”

Nourishing the Soul celebrates Melbourne Cup

Nourishing the Soul at Amici House.

Nourishing the Soul participants wore bespoke fascinators, garments, and jewellery that enriched last Wednesday’s morning session in harmony with the Melbourne Cup traditions. Elegance and charisma paraded side by side at Amici House.

The morning started with a breathing technique demonstration, including relaxation and anxiety control. In pairs, participants learned a guided massage technique, enabling them to receive and give love through a simple gesture like a massage.

As part of the Melbourne Cup theme, Co.As.It. offered homemade scones with whipped cream and jam, coffee, and tea—a delicious break to recover the energy for what was ahead.

It was the moment for a “horse ride competition”, where each participant picked a wooden horse and moved according to the number rolled by the dice. At the end of the activity, all the participants received a calendar for 2024 as a prize.

“The importance of having a project like Nourishing the Soul is that women learn how to empower their lives, bond with their peers, share stories, and grow,” says Cintia Paolino, Community Services Officer.

Nourishing the Soul creates opportunities for multi-aged and multicultural women to develop, increase, or improve their self-esteem and self-love. The techniques taught involve meditation, self-massage, and presentations based on women’s mental health—classes on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of every month.

Pearl Bygraves: turning 100 in style

Co.As.It. CHSP Client Pearl Bygraves

Age is just a number for CHSP (Commonwealth Home Support Program) client Pearl Bygraves, who recently turned 100. “I like to live one day at a time. I don’t pay attention to birthdays and what being 100 represents.”

Pearl is agile, talkative and radiates some sort of unique “bright” – one might say it is because of the colourful combination of her clothes, nails, hair and dozens of flowers and photos placed around the house.

She exercises daily in what looks like a medley of yoga moves: lifting the left leg first, then the right one and alternating with both of her arms. Before breaking her hip two years ago, Pearl’s workout routine was even more challenging, involving squats and repetitive movements hundreds of times.

There were no cliché answers when asked if she had any healthy food habits contributing to that remarkable longevity. “If I feel like having a chocolate cake, I’ll have it. What is life without eating? It is not enjoyable.” However, she confirms using essential oils to keep her skin hydrated and shining.

Finding time in Pearl’s busy schedule is hard. She wakes up and ensures everything is clean and tidy: the gardens, the kitchen and the living room. She values her independence as much as she enjoys playing Spider on the computer. Around lunchtime, she gets ready to welcome one of her five children or one of the grandchildren in her home, share a meal and then venture out to shop together.

Pearl has been with Co.As.It. since 2021 as a CHSP client, receiving support services through this program to remain living in her own home and maintain her independence.

Euro Concert Brisbane – A Huge Success

Euro Concert Brisbane promoted by Co.As.It. Community Services

Moments with friends, good food, music, and many smiles summarised the Euro Concert Brisbane 2023 at Kedron Wavell Services Club in Chermside on October 4th.

The event celebrated the multicultural community bonds for the second consecutive year, highlighting Queensland Seniors’ Month. Guests enjoyed a line-up of live music, dancing, a generous two-course meal and raffle prizes.

Tanina Softa, Co.As.It Assistant CEO, welcomed the public, followed by a presentation offered by the organisation’s Occupational Therapist, Patricia Lapsley, on the “Secrets of Sassy Seniors”.

Musical Director Frank Debellis and Australian indie artist Vince Gelonese delivered a list of top hits from all decades to the event, thrilling the public who took over the dance floor.

Connie Riga attended the event for the second year in a row. She couldn’t contain her excitement after the band played some classics and set the dance floor on fire.

“What I like most about the Euro Concert is that it brings everyone together. Nowadays, especially for older people, getting out and being socially active with everyone is vital. That’s why I brought my sister this year,” says Connie.

Attending the event for the first time, Teresa Lahme celebrated the opportunity to have the community together again on a high note.

“It was a beautiful and informative event. The older generations need to be involved in gatherings like the Euro Concert – this is what we need in our community,” says Teresa.

“I will definitely come back next year. It is priceless to see people making new friends and meeting up again with friends from the past.”

Dina Ranieri, Co.As.It CEO, emphasised that the event allows seniors in our community to come together and celebrate the importance of wellbeing, friendships and socialisation.

“We also make it easy for them to approach any of our home care staff and access important information about access to home care services to help them live independently and happily. COTA has supported our events greatly, and we encourage as many seniors as possible to attend the event, enjoy lunch, have fun and dance to great music.”

Euro Concert Brisbane 2023 had the support of COTA Queensland and prizes donated by Kedron Wavell Services Club; Flora Di Lizio at Zonta Brisbane Sunrise; Stefano Coco Tiling and Waterproofing; Black and White Home Services, and Angela Poli.

The impact of Amici House on Sonia’s life

Art Class at Amici House in Bracken Ridge

The impact of Amici House on peoples’ lives can be seen through Sonia Willis’ enthusiasm and passion for the activities and atmosphere in the centre.

She has a weekly busy schedule at the community hub: Art Class (Mondays), Stay Active (Tuesdays), Technology Class (Thursdays) and Yoga Class (Fridays). Wednesdays are set aside for a catch-up time with friends at the centre’s cafe.

It was in 2021 that Sonia first stepped into Amici House. She was attracted by the signs around Bracken Ridge road and decided, with a friend, to try the cafe.

“Barry (Amici House Coordinator) showed us around, and I was very impressed. So, I started classes right after my visit,” says Sonia.

“I love participating in the activities because I’m retired now. So, otherwise, I’d be at home and not doing anything. I think it’s good to get out and do something nice.”

The Art and Yoga classes are Sonia’s favourite ones. There is no reason why – perhaps due to the fact she joins a group of friends to have a coffee before the classes.

Sonia was emphatic when asked how to describe Amici House to someone who had never heard about it.

“Come along and enjoy the company of wonderful people and great food. Get involved in the activities as everybody is really friendly. At Amici House, you will find many things you can do.”

NDIS: Brett and his journey of success

NDIS Provider Co.As.It.

Responsible for dismantling NBN antennas and giving the pieces a new life, Brett is proud of his agility and skills with the drill. In fact, it all started as an unpretentious volunteer job, but his outstanding performance landed him a part-time position.

He can disassemble an entire box antenna in less than two minutes, making Brett one of the fastest among the staff. “I take these screws apart and recycle them in different bins. I’m really fast at what I do,” he says.

Co.As.It. has been supporting Brett since the beginning of his journey at eWaste. A Community Care Worker assists him at the workplace – both perform as a well-organised team dismantling the pieces.

“My worker helps me with the smaller screws while I use three different screwdrivers for the bigger ones,” says Brett. At eWaste, he is part of an organisation established to help people with a disability – staff members have a place to gain skills, a sense of achievement and contribution to the community by helping the environment by recycling electronic waste.

Paola Matute, Co.As.It. NDIS Coordinator celebrates how Brett’s life has changed for the better. “It was a significant change getting him ready at the beginning. Brett did not want to pack his lunch, grab medications and attend to his grooming needs. Then, we started to get him into a working routine where he learned the value of getting ready for the work ahead. It was a whole transformation, one that I am very proud to witness,” she says.

Max Shadlow and the War Memorial at Nundah Park

Aged Care Services in Brisbane - Co.As.It.

Max Shadlow (92), our client receiving care under our Home Care Packages Program, can be considered one of Nundah’s piece of history. The former plumber, has in his “resume” services with the Citizen Military Forces and as a Training Officer after World War 2.

More than that, as the president of the local RSL, Max was involved in building the War Memorial at Nundah Park – including the canon and all the plaques.The charming historical park commemorates those who have served in the various conflicts in which Australia has been involved. Its walls contain significant information about the most brutal 20th-century conflicts.

Originally from the last century, the park was redesigned and restored in 2001/2002 by Max and his team. “That park means a lot to me and the people involved with its renovation. The area was redesigned following the construction of the Nundah Deviation Tunnel,” says Max.

The park also contains a Krupp Field Gun, which was unveiled in the park in 1921 and restored in 2002. “The field gun is an authentic piece of history. We decided to camouflage it with special paint to protect it from graffiti.”

Max is so fond of the park that he collects several pictures featuring the before and after the works. He speaks with passion and detail about each metre of the memorial, each brick and plaque.

“It is a lovely feeling [to have built the War Memorial at Nundah Park]. When you drive past the park, you see a couple of school kids reading and learning from the plaques and the walls. There are three schools around the park, and knowing we are spreading wisdom is priceless,” says Max.

Book Now: Euro Concert Brisbane

Senior Euro Concert Brisbane

As part of Queensland Senior’s Month, the Euro Concert will celebrate our multicultural community bonds at Kedron Wavell in Chermside with a fabulous line-up of live music, dancing, a generous two-course meal, and raffle prizes.

With worldwide entertainment expertise of 26 years, Musical Director Frank Debellis and Australian indie artist Vince Gelonese are set to bring a list of successes from all decades to the event.

“We have performed for Canberra National Multicultural Festival with crowds of over 200,000 people. Over the years, we have organised and served for over 500 events and shows around Australia and internationally,” Mr Debellis says.

“As a musical director and performer, my main aim and expectation for this event are that the audience walks away happy and talking about what a great time they had, enjoying listening to the musical journey we took them through.”

The Euro Concert public will also have the opportunity to relish lunch and dessert, tea and coffee. All-inclusive for just $25!

Kicking off at 11:30 am, we look forward to a delightful afternoon. To book, please call Co.As.It. Community Services on 07 3624 6100. Kedron Wavell is on 21 Kittyhawk Dr, Chermside, with plenty of parking on-site.

Co.As.It. Community Services is a charitable organisation with a heritage of helping the multicultural community for over 40 years. With a well-known reputation for putting on excellent events, this event will surely sell out!

When: Wednesday 4 October 2023, 11.30 am to 2.30 pm
Where: Kedron Wavell, 21 Kittyhawk Dr, Chermside, Brisbane
Cost: Tickets are $25, all-inclusive.

Paul and Daniel: a natural friendship

Aged Care Services in Brisbane - Co.As.It

Paul Broadhurst and Daniel Quill’s natural chemistry is the essence of how dynamic an aircraft engineer and a pilot must be. It involves patience, respect and admiration – and building a gigantic plastic model plane together.

A former aircraft engineer born in India, Paul (82), met Daniel (29), a Jetstar Airbus A320 pilot, through the Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme run by Co.As.It. Community Services. Previously known as the “Community Visitors Scheme”, the initiative connects older adults living in government-funded residential aged care facilities, or home care packages being at risk of social isolation, with young and older volunteers from their local community.

When on the ground and between trips, Daniel likes to visit Paul and continue working on their cooperative project: assembling a 787-plane model – the interaction strengthens their bond even more and further stimulates Paul’s memories and mind.

Daniel is incredibly patient and watches Paul add pieces to the plane without interruption, even if it takes Paul up to 30 minutes to assemble the wings. Every movement seems to be calculated as the level of detail is terrifying.

“Honestly, Paul is much better at this than I am. I’ve never built these model planes before. So, I’ve got to read the instructions ten times,” says Daniel.

Paul’s wife, Riza, has said that he thoroughly enjoys spending time with Daniel and is mentally exhausted after the visit as he concentrates so hard on what he is doing. While building the aircraft, they chat about their life experiences.

“Working on these models brings lots of really good memories. As a child, I assembled and played with many different models. Maybe that’s why I became an engineer,” says Paul.

Care Services Coordinator Sharon Favaro says watching Paul and Dan work together to build the plane is natural and magnetic.

“The bond they have built is heart-warming to watch, and I feel incredibly honoured that I was able to purchase the plane for them through Paul’s package. I look forward to following the plane’s progress and seeing Paul’s delight with the results,” she says.

The Fabulous Works of Anthony Doneley

Amici House Art Class

Earth spins slowly when Anthony Doneley (61) paints. In front of the canvas, all vibrant colours blend in peaceful synchrony; there are no tremors when he paints, and his Parkinson “knows that”.

Anthony has attended art classes since September 2022 at Amici House and is stimulated to continuously think out of the box. However, to describe his artistic journey precisely, it is essential to go back in time.

Anthony taught primary school for about 40 years, in which pressure and stress were inseparable components of his busy routine. That’s when COVID first hit in 2020.

“By that stage, I had already been thinking: I can’t do this [teaching] much longer. The stress and the tension, constant headaches and the knot in my back are getting worse and worse,” he says.

“With the beginning of COVID, I suddenly noticed that I had started shaking. I got all organised to see a specialist about that, and I’ll never forget thinking it was nonsense; I’m just stressed.”

That day, Anthony was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.


Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that causes unintended or uncontrollable movements and difficulty with balance and coordination.

Even so, in Anthony’s case, such disturbances as shaking rarely happen when he is painting, meaning he doesn’t have to hold his hand to try and get a straight line, for example.

“When painting, I feel like reaching a neutral zone with peace and no pressure. I don’t feel like being scrutinised because that’s when I naturally get a bit of a tremor,” says Anthony.

On the verge of finalising his 39th piece, Anthony’s artistic portfolio varies from birds to portraits, including the image of U.S. former president Barack Obama. His fondest work is the kookaburra – which took him four weeks to finish.

In addition to the art classes, Anthony sees his progress with Parkinson’s soar through Amici House’s Stay Active – classes to facilitate general fitness for seniors, including stretches, balance, cardiovascular fitness, strength and coordination activities.

“Amici House has changed my life for the better. Now, because of it, I feel a sense of positivity about my future. I think things are not just all doom and gloom because now I can shape my future,” completes Anthony.

Anthony is able to participate in the activities thanks to his NDIS funding and Co.As.It. Community Services.