Over the last few weeks I’ve been privileged to join our Mall Walkers as they resume their activities at our participating shopping centres. Aside from the exercise benefit I’ve enjoyed chatting to the walkers and listening to their stories. On the day I joined the Karrinyup group there were eight walkers in their 90’s, all of them vibrant and enjoying the physical and social interaction.

A few of our Mall Walkers over 90 (and our CEO, Christine Allen)

This COTA (WA) program would not be possible without our volunteer Mall Walk Leaders, with some of them having been involved for more than fifteen years. They are the caretakers who welcome the group, register attendance, lead the stretching exercises and provide humour and motivation throughout. Our participating shopping centre partners are Karrinyup, Booragoon, Midland Gate and Ocean Keys- Clarkson. If you would like more information on our Mall Walking program, visit: www.cotawa.org.au/mallwalking

As our population ages, there is growing concern about the escalation in Elder Abuse, which in the majority of cases goes undetected or unreported. While blatant cases of physical or financial abuse are evident from media reports, there are other types of abuse that are not as widely acknowledged – and in fact, may be unintentional or implicit. Creating awareness of what constitutes Elder Abuse – identifying the different types of abuse and the potential impact on the victims – will be the key to addressing this community issue.

As the Seniors Peak Body, COTA (WA) is working with Department of Communities and the sector to deliver a Public Awareness campaign on Elder Abuse prevention. This campaign will have a number of components including a TV commercial, Facebook, placements in the West Australian and a series of posters and postcards. The campaign commences at the end of August and will run through to October. Elder Abuse in any form is unacceptable.

You may have noticed the number of surveys being distributed through our facebook and newsletters lately, which may have created a wave of ‘survey fatigue’. We’ve had the Seniors Voice, ACROD permit review, aged care royal commission and many others. And while it can be inconvenient or time consuming, this is a positive sign that seniors feedback is important and valued. I encourage you to commit to the surveys that are of interest to you – to ensure that your views are heard and you can play a part in shaping and improving the lives of seniors across Western Australia or nationally. Our thanks to those of you who have already contributed.

We continue to receive positive feedback about the At Home guide since the launch by Minister Mick Murray on 25 June, with over 4,000 copies already distributed. You can view the video version of the At Home guide at www.cotawa.org.au/athomeguide but I suggest that you set aside some time to watch it over a cup of tea, as it is 45 minutes long.

This is your last chance to have your say in the COTA (WA) Seniors Voice survey. You can take the short survey at www.cotawa.org.au/SeniorsVoice1and we’ll share the findings with you in our next newsletter.

And finally, as we observe the COVID-19 situation on the east coast, let’s take a minute to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in the most isolated capital city in the world.

Stay safe.

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Christine Allen, CEO