The bright, sunny days we’re experiencing this week feels like the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a long dark winter for many of us, but particularly for those who live alone – and may have felt the isolation more keenly. I hope you are feeling more optimistic with each passing day.

One of the learning from COVID-19 was the extent of the digital divide – with the majority of seniors not being connected to the internet or having no access to devices such as mobile phones, ipads, computers or other technology. For those who are ‘connected’, I constantly hear their frustration about the lack of support services that would enable them to become more tech savvy and therefore reduce their risk of escalating cybercrime.  At COTA (WA) we hear you, and we have applied for some funding to address this issue which has contributed to the isolation of many older Western Australians. We know from a recent national survey that 29% of seniors have increased their use of technology (during COVID-19) to stay in touch with family and friends so delivering an age-friendly computer literacy program is a priority for us. I’ll keep you posted.

At this time of the year COTA (WA) is usually in the midst of administering the Community Grants program and the Seniors Awards program on behalf of the State Government. While I’m happy to advise that both of these programs are going ahead in 2020, despite the disruption of COVID-19, we are delivering the programs in a revised format. We are working closely with some community sector partners who will deliver a series of community events during the month of November and we have engaged the WA Local Governments Association to assist with the Seniors Awards program. I’ll share more details of the Seniors events and the Seniors Awards in my November newsletter. And of course Wednesday 11 November is Have A Go Day at Burswood Park so we hope you’ll come and visit us at Stand 32a (near the Bethanie stage) to have a chat, fill in a survey and pick up a copy of the At Home Guide or the Goodbye Guide. For more information on this event visit Seniors Recreation Council WA.

This week is Mental Health Week (10 – 17 October). In 2020, the Mental Health Week theme is Strengthening Our Community – Live, Learn, Work, Play as we aim at increasing mental wellbeing in WA communities. Visit Mental Health Week WA for more information.

In collaboration with local councils, COTA (WA) is delivering a number of Aged Care Navigator presentations in November. So if you’re confused about how to access aged care or want to understand what services are available – please join us at:

Shire of Murray (Lesser Hall), Tuesday 10 November, 10.00 -11.30am

City of Melville (Man Cave Mini Expo), Tuesday 10 November, 9.00am – 1.00pm

City of Nedlands (Nedlands Community Care), Tuesday 17 November, 10.00-11.30am

We look forward to seeing you out and about at a COTA (WA) event or other seniors event soon.

Enjoy the Spring sunshine.

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Christine Allen, CEO