COVID-19 lockdowns have been tough on the elderly, isolating them from loved ones and limiting their ability to socialise with their peers. Enliven’s Onehunga Day Service is helping to turn this around as the country starts to return to some sense of normality.
The Day Service is a day programme for people over 65 who have dementia and are referred from the Auckland District Health Board’s (ADHB) Needs Assessment team. The service usually supports around 20 clients with a range of physical, cognitive, and social activities including a certified Strength and Balance programme, musical therapy, board games, sporting activities, and cognitive stimulation therapy to help them stay active at home. A shared meal is included.
The Strength and Balance programme is a set of key exercises designed to reduce falls in older people. About one in three New Zealanders will have a fall each year. Older people are more likely to fall because of weaker leg muscles, poor balance, eyesight issues or general hazards which are easier to navigate for stronger people. Falls can cause serious injury in older people and it is essential to exercise regularly to maintain strength and balance. The Strength and Balance programme also helps improve mobility and confidence and is an important part of the Onehunga Day Service.
Enliven Auckland Day Services Manager Karen Gear says the Onehunga Day Service makes a big difference to members. “It is so important for people to remain independent and active, and in their own homes. A number of our people went into residential care over lockdown because there wasn’t that respite relief for their family carers.
“When our members came back after lockdown, you could see a difference in their demeanour, outlook, communication, and physical mobility. One of our members returned in a wheelchair, but after a few weeks back is now walking again.
“Another important aspect of our service is it provides opportunities to socialise. Loneliness and isolation are big issues for the elderly.”
Enliven’s Onehunga Day Service is supported by a Team Leader, a diversional therapist and two Level 4 Health and Wellbeing support workers.
“Our team is very committed and patient, and treats each person as an individual, as someone special – it takes personal energy to maintain that and it takes special people. We’re proud of them,” says Karen.
Enliven’s Onehunga Day Service runs Tuesday-Friday 9am-3pm at The Centennial Hall, 77 Grey St with a pick-up and drop-off service for $6 each way. For more information, phone on 027 897 3189.