Older people including people living with dementia may take a refreshing break from their home environment and socialise with others in their community at the new Ironbark Social Club at Hammondville.
The Ironbark Social Club, operated by independent Christian charity HammondCare, officially opened its welcoming doors on November 9 at a new cottage location in Judd Avenue, Hammondville.
Up to 15 older people a day can participate in the club’s bus outings, gardening, exercise sessions, board games, reading, crafts and cooking activities organised by trained staff in a caring and supporting environment.
HammondCare at Home General Manager Bay Warburton officially opened the club with Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun, HammondCare General Manager Pastoral Care Steve Calder and HammondCare At Home Social Clubs and Cottages Manager Anna Wilson.
Mr Warburton said the social clubs reflected HammondCare’s relationship-based model of care. He said it was fitting to open such a wonderful community service on the same site where the independent Christian charity began as Hammond Pioneer Homes 90 years ago this month.
“Like all HammondCare services, our staff in our social clubs seek to get to know and understand the individual and tailor activities around their needs and preferences,” he said.
Clients arrive at about 9.30am, receive morning tea and a nutritious lunch prepared fresh, and leave about 3.30am.
The Ironbark Social Club is one of 16 social clubs for seniors operated by HammondCare in NSW and Queensland with more planned.
The club is available to people living with dementia or frail aged in the Campbelltown, Liverpool, Fairfield and Bankstown council areas.
The new cottage location at 7 Judd Avenue offers a comfortable, domestic environment including gardens front and rear, a kitchen and more space for social activities.
Funded by the Commonwealth Government, Ironbark is a relocation of the former SWS Social Club, which has long history at Hammondville.
Among those excited about the opening of Ironbark is John Coutinho, 71, of Campbelltown. He became a client of the former club after recovering from a stroke in 2015.
Wife and carer Sara Coutinho said the club has provided John with social connection and engagement while she works full time.
“John is happy to participate in all activities and it gives him so much joy to be creative with painting and artwork which he will sometimes bring home,” Sara said.
Greg Johnson, 68, of Mt Pritchard, has been living with Alzheimer’s Disease for nine years. Wife Lee Johnson said Greg really enjoys his time when he’s there on Tuesdays and Fridays.
When Greg is at the social club Lee catches up on shopping or spends time with friends. She does part time work as a school administration officer.
Lee, also Greg’s carer, said” “When I arrive to pick him up I hear him laughing. The social club has been a godsend,”.
Ironbark will operate five days a week with a team of 10 trained staff led by manager Debra Cairnduff.
Ms Cairnduff said her team would carefully consider the interests of people seeking to join the social club and recommend days where there are other like-minded individuals to foster relationships and maximise enjoyment.
“Staff will think about the days of the week that work best for that client’s needs,” she said.