During Seniors Month in October, Queensland’s 880,000 seniors celebrated with the theme of social connections. We visited our Waminda Social and Community Hub where care and companionship is dished out in buckets.
‘Waminda’ means friendship in the traditional language of the area, and according to the clients who attend every week, that’s just what they have found there.
Aunty Heather has been visiting Waminda for 13 years and calls it home. Alwyne has been visiting for 12 years. But today it’s all about their dear friend and local Indigenous Elder, Aunty Barb, 85.
Earlier this year the clients at Waminda came up with the idea of setting aside a special day each month for life celebrations. In September they celebrated their friend, Elizabeth, who chose a 1920s theme, complete with Gatsby-inspired outfits, food and music.
Then in October, Aunty Barb chose a country and western theme. Everyone is enjoying a barbecue and Aunty Barb’s favourite singer Troy Casser-Daley is coming through the speakers at a decent volume. Earlier in the day, they tried their hand at line dancing, which they jokingly referred to as ‘the clown show’.
“You’ve gotta have fun,” says Aunty Barb, from her special seat at the head of the table. “The mob that’s here now are my best friends”.
Aunty Barb doesn’t drive and is picked up by the Centacare bus every Monday and Thursday to come to Waminda. They do yoga, have regular sessions with the dietitian and enjoy all sorts of outings, including fishing trips to Pine River and Lake Baroon.
As we age, our social connections become increasingly important. With more than one in three seniors living alone, and therefore at increased risk of social isolation, it’s no surprise that a third have reported feeling lonely.
For some older Queenslanders, social isolation can lead to depression and other health problems. However, maintaining strong social connections can have a profound impact on our health and wellbeing.
Aunty Barb was born and bred in Brisbane but moved to Bribie Island 26 years ago when her husband passed away. She speaks fondly about her childhood. “We didn’t wear shoes back then and we ran everywhere,” said Aunty Barb. These days Aunty Barb keeps herself fit by climbing up and down the 14 stairs that lead to her unit.
Surrounded by Gubbi Gubbi and Ningy Ningy country, the group at Waminda Social and Community Hub are strongly connected to the local community.
Centacare runs a range of activities at Waminda every week on Monday and Thursday. Men’s Group is offered every Tuesday and every second Wednesday there is a community outing. Transport is available for clients to and from the hub. Social and community activities are also offered at Centacare’s other social and community hubs throughout South East Queensland.