Seniors across the region are kicking up their heels to celebrate Seniors Week.
Seniors across the region are kicking up their heels to celebrate Seniors Week.

Seniors time to shine

IT'S Seniors Week in NSW and time to highlight the work done by organisations such as the Community Visitors Scheme in Lismore co-ordinated by Nora Vidler-Blanksby.

Sixty volunteers visit 13 aged care facilities in and around Lismore, Casino, Coraki and Suffolk Park.

"Research continues to show that when people lose certain skills, these visits can improve their quality of life," Ms Vidler-Blanksby said.

"The residents are able to do a lot of reminiscing, which strengthens their self-esteem and allows them to communicate better."

The scheme has been running in the region for 19 years. It is managed by the Lismore Neighbourhood Centre and funded by the Federal Department of Health and Ageing.

Visits are organised on the advice of aged care staff.

"They contact us if they feel a community visitor can be effective," Ms Vidler-Blanksby said.

"But volunteering in this capacity is not for everyone.

"It's for compassionate, caring people, who can cope with getting to know someone in these situations for varying lengths of time."

After 65, an estimated 28% of men and 46% of women will be admitted to residential aged care at some point of their life, most after 80.

With Seniors Week running until Sunday, up to 250,000 people are expected to attend more than 900 local events throughout the State.

An Aboriginal community leader from Goonellabah is one of 60 Seniors Week award recipients.

She is Vilma Ryan, 72, who describes herself as a proud Wiradjuri woman.

Vilma Ryan is a lifelong activist for justice for Aboriginal people.

She has been a volunteer at a Red-fern preschool; set up a culturally appropriate non-discriminatory school in Newtown; helped launch the authenticity label for Aboriginal artists; and counsels people in need.

Vilma Ryan was a torch bearer at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and was named an Unsung Hero in 2010.

Among others to receive awards are a former marine engineer who restores tall ships and the oldest qualified personal trainer in NSW.



Over 150 inspirational and surprising postcards 'From the Heart' are on display in a week-long exhibition at the Lismore Art in the Heart gallery at 56 Magellan St until Friday.

You can see a marine base in action everyday this week from 6am-5pm at the Brunswick Heads Marine Rescue Base on the south wall of the Brunswick River.

A Seniors Week concert will be held at the Ballina RSL Club tomorrow from 10am-midday. Doors open 9.30am. The concert is $15 a head with entertainment from local performers followed by lunch. Bookings are via the RSL on 6686 6888.

On Thursday from 10.30am to 11.30am there will be free improvised theatre at the Drill Hall Complex in Jubilee Ave, Mullumbimby. Audience members will describe experiences, dilemmas or events from their lives and then watch as the team of actors and musicians 'play back' their stories through movement, sound and music.

On Friday the Brunswick Valley Men's Shed will celebrate the opening of their new extension with a free morning tea and sausage sizzle from 9.30am-1pm. The shed is at 3 Main Arm Rd, Mullumbimby. For information call Bruce on 6684 1342.

On Saturday at 9.30am the Disabled Surfers Association will hold a Hands on Day at Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay. For information contact Ted on 6680 4423

On Sunday the Nimbin Bowling Club will host a day of social bowls from 9.30am. The club will provide bowls and an experienced player to get you started. $5 entry.

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