Both my parents have retired and I have noticed that it is harder to get to see them, because they have both made the decision to age well. They have identified what they like doing and how they can access these activities and services for seniors either free or at a low cost. They have adopted the motto of ‘making retirement the best years of their life’.
Local Services My Retired Parents Access
Mum is all about improving her health and fitness, she attends Prime Movers, exercise classes for the over 50’s. There are over 70 classes held each week in the Perth metropolitan area and Mandurah area. They are conducted by accredited volunteer instructors.
Classes are structured to include stretching, low impact aerobics and muscle work, all carried out in a friendly environment to familiar music. Annual membership is $15, Class fees are $3, and visitors are welcome $4 per class.
My Dad likes to increase his knowledge and attends The University of the Third Age (U3A) an international organisation offering seniors (people aged over 50 years) an opportunity to expand their interest in the world, increase their knowledge by learning and passing on life experiences to others. Members come from all walks of life, all levels of learning and all degrees of interest. There are no entry prerequisites, no homework and no exams! Costs are minimal because activities are organised by U3A members, who volunteer to share their skills and expertise.
There are so many options for seniors to age well, and fundamental to ageing well is ensuring you eat nutritious food, exercise (use it or lose it), rest and sleep, keep socially connected and keep learning or teaching others.
Other Services for Seniors
Local libraries are a great place to engage in reading, whether it be today’s newspaper, or your favourite magazine, or the latest book, a movie or music . If you are not able to attend a library due to lack of transport, may libraries offer a fortnightly delivery service.
Many local councils have senior citizens centers, learning centres and community art centres, each offering program services that members are interested in doing or learning.
Mens sheds are recognised as one of Australia’s largest male based community development organisations. The modern Men’s Shed is an updated version of the shed in the backyard that has long been a part of Australian culture. Men’s Sheds are found in many cities and towns around Australia and continue to spring up internationally.
Not all Men’s Sheds are the same – if you looked inside you might see a number of men making furniture, perhaps restoring bicycles for a local school, making Mynah bird traps, fixing lawn mowers or making a cubby house for Camp Quality to raffle. You might also see a few young men working with the older men obtaining new skills and learning something about life from the men with whom they work. You might see local elders making traditional weapons or designing arts and crafts. You will see tea-bags, coffee cups and a comfortable area where men can sit and talk. You will probably also see an area where men can learn to cook for themselves or how to contact their families by computer.
If you have you have mobility limitations, health difficulties or are a little shy you may have some difficulty getting out you might consider the Community Visitor Service. The visits are social in nature and may be at the aged person’s home or in an aged care facility. It may involve a chat over a cup of tea, a walk around the garden or reading a book together. To read more or find out if you or your loved one is eligible for this free community visitor service see here.
Volunteering keeps you mind active, socially connected and is a great way to give back to your community. Many community organisations rely on volunteers. Southcare started as a volunteer run community organisation and to this day we have many volunteers that help with the op shop, driving clients, all areas of administration and many are community visitors. We’re always looking for more volunteers, so if you are interested in becoming a volunteer you can read more here.
Pets provide wonderful companionship, but it can get harder to maintain them as we age. Pets of Older Aged People (Poops) provide dog walking, feeding and transport for your pet. The service of particular interest for seniors is if you are an existing POOP’s client and have a short spell in hospital coming up, they may be able to come to check on and feed your animal in your own home so you can attend to your own health and medical needs knowing that your pet is being well looked after.
Nutrition is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but can become less of a priority if we are cooking only for ourselves or have difficulty with the task like chopping hard vegetables. Home delivered meals re a great option, and there are many of these services. Light and Easy is a very well know choice, but there are many local options that might provide daily delivery which can be easier to carry inside than a large box of meals for the week. South Perth Meals on Wheels are a great example of this service, you can get a menu by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 9367 9880. If you are getting home care assistance you should also talk to you provider about light meal preparation.
Advocare supports and protects the rights of older people and people with disabilities be providing advocacy, information and education.
COTA runs various programs living longer – living better, computer programs.
Central to ageing well is to maintaining a positive attitude, eating well, exercise regularly,sleeping 7-8 hours a day and staying social. There are many services available to help seniors live well, including home care services. We know researching the options for aged care can seem like a maze and often leave you with more questions than answers.
If you have questions contact Dr. Nicky Howe, Southcare CEO on 9450 6233. Nicky will guide you through and help you understand the options that are available to support you or your loved ones to live independently in your own home and community.