19 March 2021

New service to help stay-at-home seniors keep connected with their community

| Sharon Kelley
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New mental health service

A new mental health service for older Australians is now available across south-eastern NSW. Photo: File.

A new mental health education and support service will assist people over 65 years of age impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Summer bushfires across south-eastern NSW.

The ‘Continuing to be Me @ Home’ program (C2beMe@Home) which is being funded by Coordinare, is designed to reinforce identity and purpose, increase connectedness and help to ensure older Australians continue to live with dignity.

Coordinare CEO Dianne Kitcher said the service will provide short-term therapies to people aged 65 and over who live at home and are experiencing social isolation or loneliness.

“We are delighted to be able to fund this service and know that many older people in the community, along with their family and/or carers, will benefit from it,” said Ms Kitcher.

“The program will promote and coordinate connections to services as well as improve access to physical and mental health services for older people.”

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The free-to-use service will be delivered and managed by Parramatta Mission which is a part of the Uniting Church.

Parramatta Mission Acting CEO Mark Newton said the C2beMe@Home team will work with doctors, health services, community groups and broader services to raise awareness of social isolation or loneliness that may be experienced by older people due to the pandemic and the increased risks of mental ill-health.

“Given the recent challenges as a result of COVID-19, we have adapted our ways of working to ensure risks to older people living at home are mitigated while ensuring that C2bMe@Home is still able to provide a quality service,” said Mr Newton.

“We offer a flexible service with educational discussions and learning opportunities for the older person, their family and/or carers or a community group. We can offer this via face-to-face sessions, telephone or video counselling.”

Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain welcomed the announcement and the continued focus on supporting older people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of the bushfires.

“There is a real need in our community right now and I am pleased that older people in the Bega Valley, Snowy Monaro, and Queanbeyan Palerang areas will have access to this support – building hope and reducing loneliness,” she said.

“We approach these challenges as a community not always knowing what to do – so the support of professionals will be welcomed by carers, families, and neighbours.”

Further information is available at the C2bMe@home page and the C2bMe@home team can be reached by email.

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