Meet Paul and Desley: our dynamic duo

Paul and Desley at Co.As.It.

Desley Anthony (72) and Paul Anthony (86) are the accurate representation of the term ‘dynamic duo’.

The couple has been attending all activities offered at the Amici House – a Community Hub part of Co.As.It Community Services – a charitable organisation with a heritage of helping the multicultural community for over 40 years.

Since last year, both partners have been attending exercises, Latin dance, art, technology classes, and the woman’s group (for Desley).

“The classes are very helpful in keeping us active. It is all easy and fun. Not to mention that I have learned so many things in the technology classes,” said Paul.

“We love to do the exercises, but our favourite class is Latin dancing. We just love that. We’re not terribly good at it, but it makes us happy and active,” Desley says.

A consistent social life like the ones of Desley and Anthony has been proven to offer many health advantages, such as less risk of depression and a longer life span.

The Australian Loneliness Report has pointed out that higher levels of loneliness are associated with more elevated levels of social interaction anxiety, less social interaction, poorer psychological well-being, and inferior quality of life.

Chiara Dal Sasso, counsellor of the Mind Wellness Team at Co.As.It., says that ageing is usually accompanied by fears or never-explored traumas from the past.

“There is the fear of the end of life. You look behind and think about what you have done or if you have done enough, and if something should have gone differently,” Chiara says.

“In addition, traumas reflecting past times might emerge, such as witnessing domestic violence, alcohol abuse and war. They might appear again if these traumatic situations have been hidden over the years and never tackled.”

The fact is that our mental health shifts in multiple ways as we age, and staying active and socialising are powerful medicines against any deterioration in life quality.

At Amici House, seniors and community members will find activities and services such as yoga classes, art classes, women’s groups, technology classes, Latin dancing, NDIS art classes and health services (podiatry and physiotherapy).

Social Outings – Byron Bay

The heavy rain alerts didn’t stop our captivating Social Outing group from having a fantastic time in Byron Bay on October 20. Clients wanted to reminisce on the old days when they frequented the area.

The first stop was at the Social Brew Cafe at Burleigh Heads. A delicious morning tea made up of incredible types of sweets served as fuel for the long day ahead. Hours later, at the RSL, the clients were ready to enjoy a wine and meal of their choice, followed by apple pie and ice cream dessert.

Nothing is better after a tasty meal than visiting the town centre for some shopping therapy – they had plenty of fun. On the way home, our group was accompanied by Elvis Presley as the bus driver put on a classic movie of the rock legend.

Euro Concert Gold Coast – A Huge Success

The Glades Golf Club in Robina served as a stage for Co.As.It. Euro Concert at the Gold Coast, a seniors’ multicultural celebration that will be long remembered, as declared by the public. As part of Queensland Senior’s Month, the Euro Concert drew a crowd from diverse backgrounds who took over the dance floor and (almost) didn’t let it go. A hamper and several wines were giveaways as part of the Lucky door prizes.

While the public relished refreshments, including a Chef’s selection of sandwiches, savouries and sweets, Musical Director Frank Debellis and Australian indie artist Vince Gelonese were in charge of Latin classic tracks.

“Euro Concert is important because we have been isolated for two years without going anywhere. This is really the first outing after so many restrictions. Getting together and celebrating like this is so beneficial,” guest Claire Garcia said. “I would be attending events like this every month. I love music and dancing, a perfect combination well served at the Euro Concert,” affirmed Samar Moubayed before heading to the dance floor.

Co.As.It. Care Services Manager based at the South Coast office, Rosario Occhipinti, said it is a relief to finally be back with the community. “We’re going to look at doing more events now, bring the community together more often. We can see it today; people are enjoying it, and they’ve all expressed their approval for more events. Even those not on the dance floor are celebrating, so I think one event is not enough,” said Rosario.

Euro Concert Gold Coast was granted contribution funding from COTA (Council on the Ageing) and the Gold Coast City Council.

Latin Dancing in Lutwyche

HAVE you always wanted to learn Latin Dance but not sure where to start? Do you prefer smaller groups of people to learn with? Consider joining our community centre Latin Dance Classes at Co.As.It. in Lutwyche. The classes are held by a professional and friendly dance teacher who will have you in a shimmy in no time.

With only $5 a class the lessons will not break the budget, while getting you into a fabulous new routine.  According to the State Health Department the benefits of dancing include:

  • improved condition of your heart and lungs.
  • increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness.
  • increased aerobic fitness.
  • improved muscle tone and strength.
  • weight management.
  • stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis.
  • better coordination, agility and flexibility

We have a new class starting soon on Thursday from 3pm to 4pm at 473 Lutwyche Road, Lutwyche – with plenty of parking in nearby streets or at the Lutwyche Shopping Centre.  Just call us on 3624 6100 to book your spot!


Care Expo Exceeds Expectation

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.

Toowoomba Flower Show

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 leftovers 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 reveled in each other’s company and some were lucky to walk away with some extra pocket money after winning on the pokies.


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.

Computer Classes Now Available on the Coast

Brisbane, QLD. February 12, 2019 –  Co.As.It. Community Services announces its Computer and Technology Classes for over 65’s set to roll out on the Gold Coast commencing Friday 22 February. These FREE weekly lessons cover learning how to Skype, how to use FaceBook and how to set up a Smartphone among many other tips, will be held at the South Coast Office at 34 Thomas Drive, Chevron Island.  The classes run between 3.00pm and 4.30pm every Friday and bookings are essential due to limited availability.

“The classes are a great way to learn and they are very social” says Alex Favali the Co.As.It. Community Support Officer who delivers the weekly lessons. For further information and bookings, email or by call 07 5617 9500, yet another great initiative by Co.As.It. Community Services.

About Co.As.It. Community Services, headquartered in Brisbane, is a peak body within the Aged Care and Community Services industry. It has won a number of industry awards for high quality service delivery and excellence in care.

Co.As.It. reaches its 40 year milestone

40th Gala Evening COASIT Queensland

40th Gala Evening COASIT Queensland


Co.As.It. Community Services celebrated its 40th year of delivering services to the South East Queensland community with a Gala Dinner at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on 27th October 2018.

The services go beyond delivering aged care and social support to include the teaching of the Italian language and culture at the Italian Language Centre in Newmarket.

Over 340 guests attended the memorable event including team members and committee members past and present, sponsors, volunteers and VIP guests.

Dina Ranieri, Co.As.It. CEO says: “I am honoured to witness this amazing milestone and be a testament to the positive impact our organisation has made on the South East Queensland community.”

To commemorate the occasion an historical booklet was created capturing the progression over the years, and a documentary was launched on the night featuring an interview with the founder,  Fiorenza Jones. Members of the committee past and present also contributed to the documentary telling the story of the past 40 years.

During the event a slideshow looped hunderds of images that showcased client social outings, forums, classes, celebrations and festivals, past and present.

The president of the committee, Nereo Brezzi hosted VIP’s the Hon. Stirling Hinchliffe, Italian Consul for Queensland and Northern Territory, Dott. Ludovico Carlo Camussi, Jacinta Webb representing Hon. Grace Grace (Minister for Industrial Relations), Councillor Krista Adams, Councillor Vicki Howard, Councillor Norm Wyndham, the Italian Ambassador Hon. Francesco Giacobbe, and President of the Com.It.Es for Queensland and Northern Territory, Mariangela Stagnitti.

Guests were hosted by the charismatic Damien Anthony Rossi and the lovely Naomi Price. They enjoyed a sumptuous 4 course meal, wines and liqueur. The live music was provided by the talented De Bellis Band from Sydney, the lead singer Claudia Migliaccio was a finalist on The Voice the same year as Naomi Price.

Co.As.It. Community Services Inc. is a peak body within the aged care and community services industry which has won recognition for high quality services delivery and excellence in care.  Constant research, planning and improvement ensures that Co.As.It. programs and services are relevant, responsive and meet the diverse needs of its clients, especially those from CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) backgrounds.  The net proceeds from this event go towards the Dementia Carer Support Program for the CALD community. For more information please contact 07 3262 5755.