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People ‘glad to be back’ with friends as Centacare reopens their doors

Thumbs up: Greg Wright he had a great day returning to his friends at Centacare Aspley, one of six centres to open last Monday.

IF you hadn’t heard shouts of “bingo” for a while, you were going to hear them again soon because Centacare centres had started to re-open their doors across south east Queensland last Monday.

Greg Wright spent the Monday with Centacare Aspley, one of the six centres to re-open that day, and said he had a great day.

“I’m glad to be back,” he said.

“We played golf, we played bingo, and the quiz; we had lunch and a nice morning tea.”

Mr Wright said while it had been a little difficult staying socially distanced from everyone and that it was a shame not to be able to play pool because of restrictions, that it had been good to see his friends again and to see the Centacare staff too.

Merle Adams spent the day with Aspley too and said she it was great to spend the day with “a lovely crowd of people”.

It was Tamika Maekawa-Wilcox’s first day at the centre and she said she enjoyed the activities and that they were great mental stimulation.

She offered a big thank you to the staff for putting it all together.

Marlene White said her day was “perfect”.

“We’re all happy, it’s open again,” she said.

Centacare Aspley service delivery manager Sandra Jaynes said everyone was happy to be back at the centre.

“The past months have been an incredibly challenging time for our over-65 (years of age) clients,” she said.

“Many of them attend our centre several times a week and have been doing so for years. It’s an important part of their lives.

“It provides social interaction and the opportunity to get involved in activities, classes and excursions that support their goals to live full and happy lives in their own home and communities.

“The team at Aspley is delighted to be able to welcome some of them back – seeing the smiles on their faces is the reason we get up in the morning.”

Returning smiles: Tamika Maekawa-Wilcox, Scott Richards and Centacare support worker Amanda Rayner.

New safety and screening protocols were in place in the centres too.

These procedures included pre-screening questions for all clients, temperature checks, deep cleaning, extensive signage, reduced-numbers, staff training and limits on external visitors.

Re-opened centres were capped at 10 clients too.

Centacare community services general manager Sarah Mitchell said health and safety remained the number one priority.

“Of course not everyone feels ready to return to face-to-face activities and for some people, it’s simply not advisable,” she said.

“We have worked hard over the past months to adapt our services to ensure we can support our clients as much as possible.

“We’ve been supporting people with online programs and activities and with regular, scheduled phone calls.

“These services will continue so people can feel connected and engaged in the safety of their own homes.”

She said they had also introduced an “in-touch” service, which gave people the opportunity to have regular, scheduled phone calls with their support worker.

“This service has been well received by our older clients and their families,” she said.

“It’s a great way for people to feel that all-important sense of connection and engagement with the outside world.”

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