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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.

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“Healthy@Home” Launches New Website

Co.As.It. Community Services is a key member of the PHN Brisbane North Consortium

PHN Brisbane North launched the Healthy@Home website on Wednesday 22 May at the PHN’s Lutwyche office, at a function hosted for board members and executive managers of the consortium, of which Co.As.It. is a member.

Representing Co.As.It. Community Services was the President Cav. Nereo Brezzi, Vice President Cav. Antonio Palella and Antony Brown accompanying CEO Dina Ranieri.

Healthy@home is a consortium of 19 leading organisations committed to providing high quality community aged care services in Brisbane North and Caboolture to help older people maximise their independence and remain living at home.

The consortium includes community aged care service providers, government and non-government agencies, peak bodies and advocacy groups. Our workforce exceeds 1000 clinical and non-clinical support staff across all member organisations.

Each of the 13 service provider members has over 20 years’ experience and is fully accredited under the aged care quality standards.  Healthy@home delivers Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) services. This is a government-funded program that supports older people who are still managing well at home, but could benefit from some extra help to continue living independently in the community. The goals for service delivery is re-ablement, giving consumers the supports to return to wellness.

Healthy@Home is delivering a national rollout of the Active at Home Program which is a care-worker led home exercise program to help older people regain mobility for independence.

For more information about Co.As.It. Community Services or Healthy@Home please call 07 3624 6100 or visit our Facebook Page @coasitbrisbane

Simon Brooks from PHN North Brisbane
Dina Ranieri Co.As.It. CEO with Shana Day

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. Our classes are every Thursday from 2pm to 3pm 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!

 

Dementia Forum and Free Morning Tea on the GC

Interested in learning about dementia from a cultural perspective? Co.As.It. Community Services is hosting a free morning tea and information session at the Italo Australian Club in Clear Island Waters on Wednesday 11 May 2022 from 10 am to midday. In collaboration with Dementia Australia, registered nurse Rita Cooney, and counselor Laura Panarello will share their collective knowledge about dementia in the community. Rita and Laura are part of the Mind Wellness Team at  Co.As.It., promoting and encouraging a holistic approach to care. To book your spot please call 07 9517 9500 by 9 May 2022.

 

 

 

IWD2022 a Great Success

More than 300 guests attended Co.As.It.’s high tea for International Women’s Day (IWD), Saturday 12th March held at the Rose Room at Cloudland in Fortitude Valley. The theme, celebrating women, the heart in our community, was reflected in a mini documentary outlining the brilliant volunteering work done by women who volunteer in our Italian community.

Co.As.It. acknowledged the selfless work of three women who were interviewed: Ruth Allison who has been volunteering every Wednesday at Co.As.It.’s Casa Serena Social Centre for more than 15 years, Carmela Bozzi OAM who volunteers for the church and many other organisations in the Italian community, and Paolina Greco who volunteers as part of Co.As.It.’s Community Visitor Scheme, attending residential aged care facilities each week for over 10 years. They talked about the work they do, what motivates them and how their work has helped others.

Speeches by the Hon. Grace Grace acknowledged the leadership by Co.As.It. CEO Cav. Dina Ranieri, and the importance of equal representation of women in public roles and governance, and Lady Mayoress Nina Schrinner talked about dementia affecting women more than men, and encouraged all guests to support the fundraising efforts by the organisation.

Guests were treated to a professional fashion show curated by Laura Churchill from Brisbane Fashion Month featuring local designers Anannasa, Chamani, Red Ridge the Label, Annalisse Designs, Maiocchi, and Jericho Road Clothing. The collections were modelled by Co.As.It. staff and friends and was enthusiastically supported by guests.

Thanks to the wonderful enduring sponsorship from Cav. Fil D’Arro from Italiquore, guests enjoyed complimentary prosecco, as well as a delicious high tea including scones, hot savoury pastries and gourmet sweets. Over 43 raffle prizes were won, with proceeds going towards Co.As.It.’s dementia and wellness program. A fully sold-out event that will stay in the hearts of all who attended.

Growing up with the organisation – CEO Dina Ranieri and the history of Co.As.It Community Services

EVOLVING from a consular welfare committee in 1978, the Italian Welfare Association became Co.As.It. by 1986 and in the late 1990s, Community Services was added to the name to better reflect its broader multi-cultural and mainstream role. Today Co.As.It. Community Services employs 420 people supporting more than 5000 clients weekly with aged, disability, community support services and social connectivity.

Despite its dramatic growth, the organisation still retains its original “extended family relationship” model says CEO Dina Ranieri.

“Our culture is such that we welcome people in as a family member, and we look after clients like our own family. We create relationships with them and a sense of village is nurtured every time a new client comes on board -and they love it!”

Dina was 12 when she left Italy and arrived in Australia, with no language skills as she first started attending school. This experience helped to shape her core values, that being the importance of community and culture. As Dina says, “people stay if they like the culture and environment.”

When Dina joined the organisation as an Administrative Assistant in 1987, there were only five staff members and five Community Care Workers providing services to 10-15 clients, all of whom were Italian. At the time, Dina still had small children and was only able to work three days per week.

Soon after she was employed, the organisation became the first culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) organisation to attain aged care funding through the Home and Community Care (HACC) program.

This set Co.As.It Community Services on a path to rapid growth.

Dina’s role at that time involved “a bit of everything”- getting to know the ins and outs of every aspect of the organisation. Like many staff members, she has grown up with Co.As.It. Community Services.

“Many colleagues have been with the organisation for decades and staff turnover is low” she happily reports.

As Dina became more familiar and knowledgeable with the functions of the organisation, she was offered the role as Director in recognition of her skills and expertise. In 2018, when Co.As.It. became a company, she was appointed CEO.

The organisation has powered and grown under Dina’s stewardship, expanding both service provision, assets and presence within the industry.

Co.As.It Community Services have received recognition and won awards for high quality services and excellence in care. In 2021, they were presented with a distinguished Order of Merit Award from the Italian Government for services to the community.

“We all believe in the vision of the organisation and because more than 80% of our staff speak another language, we have the cultural and linguistic competency to excel in this area. We have since opened our arms to other new and established CALD communities.”

Co.As.It. Community Services has two divisions that Dina oversees on a daily basis.

The Italian Language Centre (ILC) promotes and teaches the Italian language and culture in primary and secondary schools Queensland-wide. The centre provides professional development opportunities, resources and support for teachers and over 24,000 students learning Italian.

The Community Services division delivers aged, disability and community care services in Southeast Queensland, from Bribie Island to Tweed heads. Based in Lutwyche, there has social activity and respite centres in Stafford, Brackenridge, Acacia Ridge, Cleveland and the Gold Coast.

Three of these facilities were proudly built using Co.As.It.’s reserves and fundraising capital- a massive achievement for an organisation that started with one office and no bathroom facilities.

Today all the centres offer themed-day activities, transport and meals for clients. Every centre operates five days a week with two activities offered each day that are “often the highlight of the week for the clients” says Dina.

There is also an activity group specially designed for people living with cognitive impairment, the Sunshine Group, which is an essential service for carers and those who attend.

“Co.As.It is providing services that are very much needed in the community. We are supporting families in a way you would in a village; extended families, that is our ethos”

Dina Ranieri

The newest facility Amici House at Bracken Ridge was refurbished entirely from its own funds to the cost of $1M and has been operational since mid-2021.

An array of classes and activities is offered through this centre including respite, Latin dance, art, technology, physiotherapy, podiatry, information sessions and social group meetings. This community hub also boasts a café offering tasty meals and snacks at an affordable price for clients and guests.

 

One of the most enjoyable activities is having children from Tumble Tots Kindergarten and Goodstart Early Learning Centre visit to share their day with clients. The intergenerational exchange between the two generations is extremely precious and rewarding- so much so that it’s not clear who enjoys the day more the children or the elders.

Co.As.It have evolved their services to meet the needs of their clients; to continue to support them on their life journey. “Italians migrated to Australia in large numbers, so they are the first to age in large numbers,” Dina says.

Services like the free ‘Stay Active Exercise Programs’ have been created, to encourage physical activity for older community members. This program is funded entirely by the organisation and started with a pilot study of 15 people. Now the program proudly boasts 6 weekly classes with over 120 participants in three different locations.

The organisation has cared for many clients for generations.

Including children who initially attended playgroups when they were young now attending as parents who have their own offspring and clients who previously attended Co.As.It social outings in the 80s now receiving social activity support, in Italian, as they have moved into aged care homes.

“The demographic has changed but we will always have the history with the Italian community, and Italian will always be part of us,” Dina says.

The sense of continuity and continued strong relationships with their clients are just like a village – the sense of which is loved by all clients regardless of their cultural heritage.

Nourishing the Soul at Lutwyche

Come and experience two hours of pampering, wellbeing and friendship. This is a FREE monthly event open to women from the ages of 16 years and above. The event will present the importance of self care and how to take time out – there is also time for connecting.  The presentation will be followed by a delicious morning tea including tea and coffee and something nutritious to eat. The gatherings are held on the 3rd Wednesday of every month from 10am to midday.

The gathering is held at the brand new offices of Co.As.It. Community Services in Lutwyche. The space has generous conference rooms and facilities for professional functions. Parking is available in nearby side streets and at the Lutwyche Shopping Centre just a 10 minute walk away. Public transport is also available. Co.As.It. Community services is at 473 Lutwyche Road, Lutwyche (corner of East Street).

The “Nourishing the Soul” talks are filling up fast, all you need to do is contact the Co.As.It. Head Office on (07) 3624 6100 to register and book a space for you and a friend, if you wish. It’s a women-only event.

Yoga Classes at Amici House

Are you over the age of 60 and wanting to learn yoga without breaking the bank? Why not join the FREE yoga classes on offer at Amici House? The next set of 8 classes starts on Friday 25 February 2022 from 9am to 10.30am. All you need to do is register your attendance, bring a yoga mat and wear loose, comfortable clothing. The set of 8 classes is suitable for all levels and you will learn postures to help improve your mobility, core strength and stability.

Amici House is a re-purposed gospel chapel on Bracken Ridge Road that has received a new life as a café and community facility.  The centre runs weekly community activities for seniors, yoga classes, art classes, and latin dancing. The centre is a hub for the local community and boasts over 170 visitors weekly.

The benefits of yoga are well known and some classes charge up to $20 per class, this is a fantastic way to learn this modality for FREE in a wonderful environment. You can contact Amici House on (07) 3606 4685 to book your place. This course is very popular and highly recommended.

Art Classes at Amici House

Are you over 60 and keen to learn something new? Have you ever wanted to join an art class but not sure what you might be good at? If you want the option to try sculpture, painting, sketching, collage, working with clay or watercolour, why not join an art class at the wonderful Amici House! Classes are held every Monday from 10am to 12pm at Amici House, 294 Bracken Ridge Road, Bracken Ridge. Access to the centre is via the service road and there is plenty of on site parking.

Amici House is a re-purposed gospel chapel on Bracken Ridge Road that has received a new life as a café and community facility.  The centre runs weekly community activities for seniors, yoga classes, art classes, and latin dancing. The centre is a hub for the local community and boasts over 170 visitors weekly.

The art classes at Amici House are suitable for over 60s of all skill level. A perfect class for anyone who is seeking to explore their creative side. All materials are provided for the very affordable cost of $5 per class. Classes are run by a qualified art teacher who can deliver tips and tricks to help you develop your skills. All you need to do is contact the centre on (07) 3603 4685 and register your interest.

Nourishing the Soul at Amici House

Come and experience two hours of pampering, wellbeing and friendship. This is a FREE monthly event open to women from the ages of 16 years and above. The event will present the importance of self care and how to take time out – there is also time for connecting.  The presentation will be followed by a delicious morning tea including tea and coffee and something nutritious to eat. The gatherings are held on the first Wednesday of every month from 10am to midday at the wonderful Amici House in Bracken Ridge just near the corner of Bracken Street – entry via the service road.

Amici House is a re-purposed gospel chapel on Bracken Ridge Road that has received a new life as a café and community facility.  The centre runs weekly community activities for seniors, yoga classes, art classes, and latin dancing. The centre is a hub for the local community and boasts over 170 visitors weekly.

The “Nourishing the Soul” talks are filling up fast, all you need to do is contact the Co.As.It. Head Office on 3624 6100 to register and book a space for you and a friend, if you wish. It’s a women-only event and there is plenty of on site parking.

International Women’s Day 2022

Co.As.It. Community Services is delighted to host the International Women’s Day Celebration on Saturday 12 March, 2022 from 10am to 2pm at The Rose Room,  Cloudland in Fortitude Valley. International Women’s Day is a unique global event that is the highlight of Co.As.It.’s community calendar. Themed ‘Celebrating Women, the Heart in our Community’, be immersed in a stunning event that will honour the quiet achievers in our community who dedicate time, love and energy to helping others. In collaboration with Brisbane Fashion Month’s Laura Churchill, this year’s event is shaping to be unmissable.

Laura Churchill will curate the Co.As.It. International Women’s Day fashion parade, she is one of Brisbane’s leading stylists and fashion event producers. As director of Brisbane Fashion Month, a month-long series of runway, networking and public events each October, and producer of the Ekka Natural Fibres Fashion Parades since 2017, Laura helms the two largest showcases of Brisbane and Queensland fashion in the state and is a passionate advocate of local fashion designers and makers.

Join Co.As.It. for a wonderful high tea with prosecco upon arrival, generously sponsored by Italiquore, and a chance to win raffle prizes – all in a breathtaking setting at the opulent Rose Room, at Cloudland in Fortitude Valley. Returning as emcee is the masterful Kim Skubris, exceptional communicator, ambassador – a true powerhouse of personality.

Enjoy this event with friends, family, and celebrate the work that women do in our community. Co.As.It. is hosting this exclusive event with all funds raised going toward their Mind Wellness Program – a fully funded counselling and support service for carers and for those living with dementia. Brisbane women of all ages are invited to this event to celebrate women’s achievements and to help #BreaktheBias for a more equitable future.

You do NOT want to miss this one! Tickets via Eventbrite or the Lutwyche Office.

Organisers: Grace Demaio and Linda Moffat

Brisbane Seniors Expo

Organisers were thrilled with the turnout to the recent Brisbane Seniors Expo ’21, held at Brothers Rugby Union club, Albion. Visitors to the Co.As.It. stall received information about the various services and assistance the organisation provides and useful information about registering with My Aged Care, the various forms of financial support provided by the Commonwealth Government and free activities such as dance and computer classes.

Visitors saw local politicians at work, with Federal Member for Brisbane and Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans MP, whose office organised the event, mingling with attendees to gather information about their needs and expectations of government. Along with other politicians and clients, Mr Evans expressed his gratitude for the work Co.As.It. does caring for older people and others in the community requiring support due to disability, incapacity or chronic illness.

Corporate office staff rarely have opportunities to meet Co.As.It. clients and it’s heart-warming to hear first hand just how highly regarded Co.As.It. and its support workers are by clients, their families and friends. Co.As.It. gave out more than 100 ‘sample bags’, with the event being hailed a success by all involved.