Day group for elderly keeps loneliness at bay

Enjoying a day at the Mosgiel Elderly Care Group are (from left) Joan Blair, manager Kerry Meehan, Rita Wright and activities co-ordinator Brian Jowett, with Zak. Photo: Ella Stokes
Enjoying a day at the Mosgiel Elderly Care Group are (from left) Joan Blair, manager Kerry Meehan, Rita Wright and activities co-ordinator Brian Jowett, with Zak. Photo: Ella Stokes

The Mosgiel Elderly Care Trust is celebrating 35 years of preventing loneliness and isolation in the community.

Founded by a group of volunteers in 1982, the service offers care for elderly who still live in their own homes.

In 2008, it became a charitable trust with three full-time staff, a board of trustees and a group of volunteers.

Mosgiel Elderly Care Trust chairman Ken Whitcombe said he had enjoyed seeing the group grow and evolve over time.

‘‘ We offer a stand-alone service and people really enjoy it,’’ he said.

It operates Monday to Friday, from 10am-3pm. About 12 people per day attend, and some come twice a week.

Manager Kerry Meehan, who has been working at the trust for 15 years, said she found it rewarding.

‘‘ It’s such a friendly, homely environment . . .

It’s really special to get to know people and their families.’’

Mrs Meehan said the days consisted of picking people up from their homes, making scones and chatting with others. This would be followed by activities, a hot lunch, more recreation and, occasionally, outings. Then those who had been there for the day were delivered home.

She said it was important to offer a place where retired elderly could spend time and have support, instead of sitting at home on their own.

They had 50 members in the group and for some of them it was the highlight of their week, Mrs Meehan said.

Mr Whitcombe said the trust received funding from the Southern District Health Board but also relied on financial support from other groups.

What started out as a great idea from a small group of volunteers had become a professional service, he said.

ELLA.STOKES@thestar.co.nz 

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