Chesalon Day Care - Chesalon Services
Social interaction for the elderly
You never know what a new day can bring, but for the elderly visiting Chesalon’s Day Centres at Frenchs Forest or Mona Vale, it’s guaranteed their day will be one of good fun and great companionship.
Although Chesalon lives up to the meaning of its name, "a place of security and hope", for the elderly of Manly, Warringah and Pittwater it’s also a fundamental gateway to some social interaction.
Run by Anglicare, the urban mission and community care arm of the Sydney Anglican Church, Chesalon Services assists elderly people to lead fulfilling lives and maintain independence, while catering for their recreational and spiritual needs.
While their range of services include in-home care and day therapy centres, the Chesalon Day Care Centres in Rodborough Road at Frenchs Forest; Pittwater Road at Mona Vale; Ourimbah St at Mosman; and Arabella Street in Longueville are all about social interaction and support, and having easy access to interesting and stimulating activities.
Something for everyone
It may be a day trip to the Blue Mountains, Palm Beach or the Art Gallery, or perhaps it will be a day spent at the centre enjoying art classes, a sing-a-long of old favourites, or giving the brain a work out with some mind games.
Each member of the Chesalon Services staff is trained in working and communicating with the elderly and their age-related physical or dementia issues, and activities are based on recognising individual needs and abilities.
“The art and music therapy sessions can help those who have become emotionally disengaged to express themselves,’’ says Lesley Pope, the Regional Manager of Chesalon’s Northern Sydney Division.
The Day Centre also provides carers with the chance to enjoy some respite of their own for day.
“They can drop their husband, wife or parent off, and do something for themselves, knowing they are in good and safe hands,” Lesley says. “This time-out is vital for carers.”
A cultural affair for all
While art, music, excursions, games and song are all on the agenda at the Chesalon Day Centres, there is one group at Frenchs Forest that is a little more exclusive. So much so, that once twice a week they host their own day of noisy celebration.
“It’s the Italians,” explains Lesley.
This group of about 20 noisy and excitable Italians, averaging 70 plus in age, is picked up every Tuesday and Thursday to visit Chesalon for lunch, a chat and play some games. Way before they reach the foyer, you can hear their enthusiastic and loud chatter as they pour off the Chesalon bus which picks them up from their homes or designated meeting points. There’s no need to understand their language - their enthusiasm and good-natured bantering is palpable.
“It started with just a few coming to us at the Day Centre to socialise, but as word spread among the Northern Beaches Italian community, their numbers grew,” Lesley said. “Because they spend their time speaking, singing and playing games in Italian, they formed their own group.”
it’s clear from their easy camaraderie that the Italians’ days at Chesalon is a much looked forward to highlight, and it’s not lost on the team at Frenchs Forest either.
‘’They are lots of fun,” Lesley says. “But even in our regular day groups, we celebrate National Days of other countries, such as Bastille Day and the 4 th of July. We have all learned a lot from the different cultural backgrounds of our visitors to Chesalon.”
Maintaining outside contact
The Chesalon Day Centres at Frenchs Forest, Mona Vale, Mosman and Longueville are a crucial link for the elderly living on the lower North Shore and Northern Beaches. Providing activities, conversation, companionship and excursions, the centres provides local elderly with the opportunity to maintain vital contact with their peers and the outside world.