‘Activity packs’ helping Kerrabee clients stay connected while in isolation

Physical distancing may have put a hold on seniors attending their weekly social groups, but staff at Council’s Kerrabee Centre are continuing to support residents to ensure they remain socially connected and mentally active.

Kerrabee staff members have been busily putting together activity packs to be delivered to 96 of their clients each week.

The packs contain up to 10 different activities ranging from colour therapy books, quizzes, crafts, mandalas and games, along with a weekly newsletter of fun facts, information and jokes to keep residents occupied and their spirits lifted during time away from family and friends.

With a fifth of the world under lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus, protracted isolation can also bring with it loneliness, anxiety and depression.

Kerrabee program coordinator Geof said the activity packs were a way for residents to still feel connected to the outside world, while allowing them to enjoy the same types of activities they would normally be doing when at the centre

“The feedback we’ve been getting is how grateful residents are to receive the activity packs; they say it gives them something to look forward to each week,” says Geof.

Important dates like Easter and ANZAC Day are not being forgotten either, with staff preparing bundles of craft-related activities, along with 96 cellophane-wrapped chocolate eggs delivered in time for Easter.

Clients also receive a daily phone call from staff to find out how they are coping.

“Every time we ring them we ask if they need anything. Some of them don’t have family so we support these people as much as we can,” says Geof.

Eastern Regional Libraries have also stepped in to help by donating books to be distributed among Kerrabee clients.

Geof says seeing the faces of a Kerrabee staff member when packs are dropped off each week has also provided that important social contact, particularly for those who may be feeling especially isolated and alone.

“We will stand back and have a chat from a distance just to make sure they’re okay,” adds Geof.

While staff too are missing clients, being able to maintain connection through personally preparing activity packs has been just as important.

“There have been friendships made within each of the groups and they have been ringing each other as well,” adds Geof.

Kerrabee is a Council-run social inclusion and wellbeing program of planned events and activities aimed to increase opportunities for participation, health and social connection. Group activities run Monday through to Friday for eight different social groups, including men, women, mixed groups and a carer’s group.

Programs at Kerrabee, located at 3-5 Louisa Street in Croydon, are based on an assessed need. To take part residents will need a referral from the Commonwealth Government’s My Aged Care program.

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