SOUTH Gippsland Hospital in Foster will soon launch new social groups to run each week on a Thursday, alongside the current social groups that are held every Tuesday and Wednesday.
South Gippsland Hospital allied health manager Justine Kleeman said the new Thursday groups will feature a different activity as the focus of each week throughout the month, and will be starting in mid-September.
“A person may choose to attend one of the Thursday groups a month, or some or even all of them, depending on what interests they have,” she said.
“People are welcome to come along on Tuesdays and Wednesday, too, of course, and it’s up to each person to choose what they like to do!
”Our groups meet each week and have been hugely popular over the years,” Justine said.
“It’s pretty amazing to be able to provide a service that continually receives such positive feedback from our clients.”
The new Thursday groups will include a Movie Club on the first Thursday of every month with members heading to the cinema in either Leongatha or Morwell, to watch a film together.
Should there be nothing interesting on at the cinema the group will enjoy a movie in the activities room next to the South Gippsland Hospital.
The second Thursday of each month will be the Makers and Shakers group to cater for people who are keen to do some woodwork, mosaic or craft projects. People may work on their own project or help with a group project.
The third Thursday of each month will be the Green Thumbs Gardening group, and will be perfect for anyone who likes to get out in the garden or just enjoys having a cuppa and a chat with friends while watching what is happening in the garden.
The fourth Thursday of each month will see the group heading out for a pub lunch.
“Our local towns have some fabulous places to have lunch, so the group will be supporting our local towns and businesses as well as enjoying a great meal with friends,” Justine said.
“We need to make sure our services continue to meet the needs and interests of people in the community, particularly for people who don’t necessarily like to join groups but are socially isolated,” she said.
“With changes to the aged care sector, we are trying to be more innovative in how we provide social support to people in our community.
“With loneliness being recognised as a significant health issue that can lead to poor cardiovascular health, depression or increase in cognitive decline for many people, having social groups that people want to come along to available in rural areas is vital,” Justine said.
“Having a different activity each week means people join a group based on their interests and we are always open to ideas as to what activities all of our groups take part in.
“If there’s an activity or a place a person wants to visit, then they just have to let us know and we try and incorporate that in to our monthly planners for the group,” she said.
“For all of the social groups, transport is available to pick up and drop off people at their home, and, depending on the day, morning tea and a three-course lunch are provided.
“We are lucky that we can offer such a service and for such a small daily fee.” Justine said.
“Rural areas often lack important services, so it’s great that South Gippsland Hospital is so committed to ensuring that we continue providing social support groups, and that we are able to adapt our services depending on our clients’ abilities, needs and wishes.”
Justine believes that the weekly groups will continue to be popular, especially now there is more choice of days and activities.
Anyone who would like to join a group is invited to contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.For more information about any of the activity groups or other services, call the South Gippsland Hospital Community Health Centre on 5683 9780.