Many older people are pitching in to keep their communities connected and support older friends and neighbours. COTA Victoria volunteer Anita Smith and her husband, Dwight, are supporting their community at Keilor Retirement Village by hosting extra isolation activities on the village’s in-house TV station.
Village manager David Moore said the station, affectionately known as Channel 50, is also being used to keep residents informed about COVID-19. The Smiths have added activities such as karaoke, light chair activities and musicals and movies.
The village’s 220 residents – most of them completely independent – are all trying to stay as active and connected as possible while adhering to Victoria’s Stage 3 restrictions.
‘We have morning walking groups of pairs who maintain their social distancing; assistance for residents to order groceries online or have family drop off groceries; and a commercial kitchen offering takeaway lunch and dinners,’ Mr Moore said. ‘Some families have even pre-paid for their loved ones to receive the takeaway as an Easter present.’
‘We’re also about to offer an Easter penpal opportunity to residents after being contacted by the Year 5 and 6 students at Augustus Primary School in Keilor, who have asked about how our residents are going.’
Mr Moore said most residents’ response to the crisis has been very positive.
‘We’re providing regular newsletters to our residents and sending emails to their families. We find keeping residents safe and informed is helping everyone.’
Anita said residents are really pleased with the support, the information and the fun activities, including a social distance relay hosted over Easter.
‘Residents were invited to do a lap of the village with people from their home, and then call the next person on the list on our internal phone system’, Anita said.
‘We find keeping people active and busting myths about the virus stops people panicking. Many people contribute ideas – it’s creating a great sense of community.’