A community group for Ballarat seniors who are socially isolated has found a new home – with an intergenerational twist.
The Laugh Out Loud (LOL) social group, run by Victorian not for profit aged and disability services organisation Villa Maria, has been growing steadily in popularity since it began as the Ladies of Leisure group with just three attendees in 2010.
Fast forward to 2013 and there are now 14 members of LOL who meet fortnightly to socialise, enjoy afternoon tea, and participate in fun and interesting activities such as bingo, decorating cupcakes, mini Olympics and golf ball making.
Villa Maria Western Community Services case manager, Marina Veal, said most of the participants received community aged care packages from Villa Maria, providing support that includes homecare, personal care, transport to medical appointments and gardening, to help seniors remain living independently at home for as long as possible.
Ms Veal, (pictured to the right with Villa Maria 'LOL' client, Bobbie), said the group recently moved to larger digs at Yuille Park P-8 Community College in Wendouree, after outgrowing get togethers in private homes and cafes, and weas enjoying the chance to interact with students.
“Children have interviewed some of our clients and the school has made a DVD as an exercise for the students. Mothers and babies have come in so the clients have had the opportunity to cuddle a newborn, and soon the school choir will be performing for our group,” she said.
Guest speakers also gave talks from time to time on topics such as health care and local home services.
“We call the group Laugh out Loud because that is exactly what happens when everyone gets together. Our clients really enjoy the opportunity to socialise with like-minded people and try their hand at new activities in a welcoming and caring environment,” she added.
Ballarat resident, June, has been attending the group for a few months.
“I live alone and I don’t get out a great deal because I’m on oxygen,” she said. “Going along to LOL is a very nice opportunity to socialise and I must admit they do a very nice afternoon tea! We’re taken to and from home as well so we don’t have to worry about transportation, which is great."
For more information on LOL, call Marina Veal on (03) 5331 2458. To find out more about Villa Maria’s community services, call 1300 650 615 or visit www.villamaria.com.au