Western Australia has long been recognised as one of the most isolated capital cities in the world, but who would have thought we would see the day when we became isolated from the rest of our own country? And as each state of Australia scrambles to find the appropriate solution within its own borders, we have never, literally, been so isolated. Yet as a country we are undeniably united in our effort to protect our way of life and its times like this that make us realise that we really are the lucky country.

Someone recently commented to me that “Our parents or grandparents were asked to go to war. We are being asked to stay at home and wash our hands’’. This seems like a reasonable request under the circumstances however the failure to do this could have devastating consequences for our communities.

As updates are issued daily and sometimes hourly, one of our biggest concerns is the dissemination of critical information to the seniors who are not online. We know that facebook, email, internet and mobile phone accounts have been set up by families as a way to stay in touch but many seniors are not active users of this technology. At COTA WA we are working on an initiative to reach out to our seniors right across the state. I hope to have more information to you soon.

As a result of COVID-19, we recently asked our readers to complete a survey about how you’re feeling during this period of social distancing and isolation. We’ve had 333 responses with an average age of 73. What is clear from the survey analysis is that seniors feel their support declines as they age. This relates to all areas of support including emotional, physical and financial. We will delve more deeply into this and share more survey results in our next edition.

Also, in this month’s newsletter we’ve included a short documentary on the Mentoring to Work program which engages older mentors to support disadvantaged youth. You can view the documentary here

While our Mall Walking and Living Longer Living Stronger (Strength For Life) programs are currently suspended, we know that these highly engaged groups are staying in contact and checking on each other. A huge acknowledgement to our Mall Walk Leaders and our LLLS providers for keeping their groups connected during this time.

I encourage you to stay active and engaged in a safe and comfortable environment – and please continue to provide your feedback to us through email or through our surveys. Let’s stay connected.

Christine Allen, CEO