Festival of Ageing is an outstanding success

HammondCare's inaugural Festival of Ageing in NSW Seniors Week was an outstanding success with more than 70 people participating in an over 70s exercise class record attempt, the Festival's 85 tips for positive ageing being widely circulated and a big crowd visiting the Arts on Prescription exhibition.

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Organised by the Centre for Positive Ageing in Hammondville, the Festival also coincided with the 85th anniversary of HammondCare's founding by the Rev Bob Hammond and local Federal MP Craig Kelly was on hand to mark the occasion.

Numerous activities and forums over the three days of the Festival focused on positive ageing approaches and this was backed up by a range of stalls and pop up classes to provide older people with information and ideas.

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Exercise for everyone

The unofficial record attempt for an over 70s exercise class was an opportunity to promote age-appropriate exercise for older people, including those with health and mobility issues.

"To see the lawns near HammondCare's Bond House full of people seated and happily exercising - many having arrived with walking aids or in wheelchairs - was a great symbol of how every person can find ways to improve health and wellbeing in their latter years," said Prof Chris Poulos, Head of the Centre for Positive Ageing.

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Artful exhibition

"This was matched by the outstanding exhibition of artwork from participants in our Australian-first Arts on Prescription program. Many of these participants had not attempted art before, or had put art aside for some time, so to see the quality and variety of their work and hear how the program has benefited them was a especially rewarding.

"While the initial Arts on Prescription pilot, which ends later this year, was funded through a Federal Government healthy ageing grant, we are looking for options to securing ongoing funding and would love to hear from potential supporters and partners."

A further exhibition of work from Arts on Prescription, and a discussion of the role of arts in health, will be held at the University of NSW Faculty of Medicine on May 3 (details will be posted soon).

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85 years of care

The Festival coincided with the 85th anniversary of HammondCare's founding - in February 1932 the Rev Bob Hammond announced his idea of developing a pioneer settlement for destitute families affected by the Great Depression, and by March 1932 he had more than 1000 expressions of interest. Later that year the first residents moved into what is now the suburb of Hammondville.

To mark the occasion, Federal Member for Hughes, Craig Kelly, helped cut a 85 birthday cake, and was joined by HammondGrove resident Jan Hallett, who also turns 85 this year. Mr Kelly congratulated Prof Poulos on the Festival of Ageing, thanked those present for being among the generations who had helped make Australia such a great nation, and enjoyed a tour of the AoP art exhibition.

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Popular positive ageing tips

Meanwhile, the Centre for Positive Ageing including doctors, exercise physiologists, occupation therapists and more compiled 85 tips for positive ageing and this received widespread media coverage, hopefully inspiring many older people to age well.

The Centre of Positive Ageing is a unique health and aged care initiative which among other things, embeds academic research and professional training and development in the community amidst aged care service delivery, rather than in an acute hospital setting.

Media: For more information about this story please contact Peter Hallett at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.