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What are social centres for?

We make socialising easy, writes Anja Danner

Bethanie social centre co-ordinator and client

What are social centres for? We are here to support social nearness and combat loneliness for older people.

Our day programming is very flexible - we find out what our clients like to do, and cater for their joint interests.

We usually have more than one activity running so there are options, like how it works in the family home. Because our accessible seating is arranged in small groups, conversation is natural and easier to hear.

People can choose how often they’d like to attend – we have some clients coming five days a week, others only once. Our activity schedule is planned in advance, so clients and their families know what’s coming up.

We’re very careful to tailor our programming to suit current clients. We always ask for feedback so that we repeat the activities and outings that everyone enjoys. Like everyone, our clients have differing tastes, although a recent outing to Fremantle Maritime Museum was so popular we’re going again soon.

Our outings are pre-planned with correct ratios of staff to clients, so that it feels more like a group of friends going out together than an artificial outing. We go to cafes, galleries, museums, movies, theatre, and as the weather warms up, to Kings Park and the river.

Some of clients prefer the activities we run in the centre, like armchair travel, cultural quizzes, barbecues and gardening. Recently we held an Oktoberfest over 10 days, with themed games and quizzes.

Our clients range in age and cognitive ability - some of our clients are in varying stages of dementia, others not at all.

The only mobility requirement we have is that our clients need to be able to safely weight-bear. We offer discreet bathroom assistance for those who might need it. We cover all these details in our intake process, so that when clients arrive for their first day, we are very clear on medical details, nutrition needs, mobility, aids, whether they need toilet assistance and if there is a risk for falls.

If people are interested in coming for a trial day, I always encourage them to stay for lunch, so they can settle in and get a feel for how we operate. Our clients are very aware of newcomers, and go out of their way to make them feel welcome and comfortable.

Interested in finding out more about social centres? Get in touch on 131 151 or contact us online

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