Port Phillip Council’s, 'Cultural Seniors Meals Program – COVID-19 response' has delivered much-needed support to isolated seniors by providing them with a delicious meal and a friendly face, as well as regular COVID-19 updates in their own language and welfare checks.
The Cultural Seniors Meals Program was developed in response to feedback from older members of the community, who, following the temporary suspension of their Seniors Groups due to Victoria’s Stage 3 and 4 lockdowns, were missing their regular social connections.
The pilot project, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health, commenced on 18 June 2020 with 42 participants, who received meals every Thursday for eight weeks. The program has been extended and is expected to continue until the end of 2020, with up to 300 people eligible for the service.
Mayor Bernadene Voss said the Cultural Seniors Meals Program visits are a welcome weekly highlight for many participants.
“While many activities and social occasions have successfully moved online, for some older people in our community, the increased digitalisation has left them feeling lonelier. Through the Cultural Seniors Meals Program, we can continue to provide residents with face-to-face interaction, while keeping them up to date with COVID-19 and feeding them a hearty meal at the same time,” Cr Voss said.
The Cultural Seniors Meals Program has been designed to provide a support system to map out and identify the most vulnerable seniors and give them priority in receiving immediate assistance.
Council was also successful in receiving almost $25,000 under the Commonwealth Home Support Program, which will support the adaption, continuation and recovery of multicultural seniors’ clubs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grant will assist community leaders to adapt groups to the current situation, should it continue long term and increase the digital literacy of the most vulnerable group members.
Culturally appropriate social support, gentle exercise and mindfulness will also be introduced.
There are currently 23 registered multicultural Seniors Groups active in Port Phillip, with most members aged between 75 to 85.
For more information go to Aged Care and Disability.
Image: Ronald Austin tucks into a delivered meal