An innovative community pilot program in Adelaide has received a $15,000 grant from South Australia’s Department for Families of Communities.
Masonic Homes’ ‘Circle of Friends’ program began last year as an initiative of the state’s Office of the Ageing.
It aims to draw on the strengths of older people, helping them to develop meaningful relationships and to contribute to the community.
There are currently 25 older people from Adelaide’s south involved in the program.
“The purpose of the program is to empower the strengths of older people so that they can develop meaningful relationships and find valued roles and ways of contributing to the community,” said the program’s coordinator Vanessa Leane.
Masonic Homes staff act as facilitators, helping clients to identify their strengths and proactive measures they can adopt.
The cash injection from the ‘Positive Ageing’ grant will be used to purchase materials for a range of projects that the Circle has been conducting.
Projects include the creation of a “photo book” to document an 86-year-old woman’s visits to a local kindergarten and personal gift boxes to lift the spirits of isolated older people.
Ms Leane said educational initiatives linking elderly volunteers with school children and international students had been a highlight of the program.
“So many of these stories are hidden among the older generations and are eventually lost,” she said.
“This is one way we can bring their stories to the attention of the younger generations, to show them that there are heroes in our community whose courage and perseverance can be an inspiration to us all.”