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Purple and blue watercolor stains

Let go of the chaos with art therapy

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We’re getting ready to deliver their next eight week art therapy program in Lakes Entrance starting later this month and are putting a call out for participants.

“Art therapy offers a way to unblock emotional expression without having to sit and talk about feelings,” said Andrea Farley, qualified Art Therapist at GLCH.  “Our sessions provide people with a safe place to express and release emotions – a place where stress levels go down and feelings of confidence and happiness grow.

The Art Therapy Association defines art therapy as, a creative process in which the resulting artwork is used to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behaviour and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.

Ms Farley facilitates the art therapy sessions which gently support participants to create, explore and find insight into their creations helping participants understand certain aspects of themselves that maybe they didn’t know existed. “Art work is seen as a reflection or extension of its creator, it is used as a means of communication,” Andrea explained. “Interesting trends can appear as you let go of the chaos and let your creative flag fly.”

You don’t have to have any artistic skills to benefit from art therapy because it’s not the finished product that matters – it’s the process!  “Our program includes a variety of exciting activities that are non-threatening, self-explorative and fun – being ‘arty’ is definitely not essential.”

Our art therapy program is open to all adults residing in East Gippsland.  Places are limited so contact Andrea today on 5155 8320 to register your interest.  Click HERE to view flyer.

Portrait of happy senior woman

Dementia, a growing health concern

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Dementia describes a group of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. Dementia affects peoples thinking, their behaviour and their ability to perform everyday tasks.

Last year there was were 1,089 people living with dementia in East Gippsland.  This figure is expected to rise to over 4,000 by 2050 representing an annual growth of 4.1%.

In 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) created a Dementia Plan for Gippsland.  Two important roles were created from the 2014 plan, including a specialised nursing position to support general practitioners with early dementia diagnosis. 

“Dementia can present in many different ways making it difficult to diagnose,” said Amanda Crombie, dementia nurse practitioner candidate based at Gippsland Lakes Community Health.  “Dementia is not a normal part of ageing, however as we age and particularly after the age of 75, the chances of developing dementia certainly increases.  There are younger people, sometimes in their 30’s and 40’s who can be impacted by dementia and these situations can be particularly difficult to diagnose.” 

“My role offers help to East Gippsland GP’s and their patients including people at home when required,” Ms Crombie added.

Amanda stresses that not everybody who is experiencing thinking, memory or behavioural changes receive a dementia diagnosis.  “Some treatable medical conditions share similar symptoms and it is important to investigate. I can help people and their GP’s take steps to find out what may be causing these changes.”

A dementia access and support worker position was also created to address the impacts dementia has on a person and their loved ones.  Jenny Robinson was appointed to this position and provides people living with dementia, their families and carers with the knowledge and support to access the services they need.  Based at Latrobe Community Health Services in Bairnsdale, Jenny says, “At different points in time, people living with dementia may require help to access support so they can continue to live well in their own homes. Everyone wants to be able to live in their home as long as is safely possible and I like helping make that happen.”

Both Amanda and Jenny work in partnership with Diane Scott, a counsellor at Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria.  For ten years now, Diane has provided counselling and support throughout Gippsland to people living with dementia, their carers, family and friends.  “To have Amanda and Jenny in their roles is a bonus for the people in this region,” said Ms Scott.  They have improved a collaborative approach to supporting and enabling people to access diagnostic services and access ongoing supports alongside many other support services in this region.”

To remain responsive to the changing needs of Gippslanders living with dementia, their families and carers, the DHHS recently updated their 2014 Dementia Plan for Gippsland in consultation with representatives from a number of local health and aged related services and organisations. 

Close up of little four year old brunette girl smiling on a white background

Kindergym update

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NOTE TO PARENTS: All GLCH Kindergyms have ceased for the rest of the school term.  We’ll be back in action on the week commencing  July 17.  Our Bairnsdale Kindergym will only running one session next term at 72 Lucknow Street, from 10.00 – 11.00am due to the cooler weather.  Please bring piece of Fruit to share

beach

Our Children’s Centre is creating Eco Warriors!

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Gippsland Lakes Community Health’s Children’s Centre in Lakes Entrance is producing our next generation of ecological warriors via weekly Coastal Kinder outings – a unique part of their four-year-old Kindergarten program.

“Coastal Kinder promotes ecological sustainability and provides opportunities for children to discover and explore their environment,” said Child Care Coordinator, Jodie Jarvis.  “It aims to connect children to their world by getting involved in practical experiences, and in this case, in their unique and special back yard.” 

Each term the children explore several different coastal elements including our local waterways, beaches and tides; land animals and marine life; and weather patterns and events.  Recently the children visited Red Bluff, where they discovered crabs and sandworms and learnt the environmental impact that waste and litter has on our waterways, marine animals and their environments.    

The experienced team of educators at GLCH’s children centre believe that teaching environmental awareness to children at a young age is important for future growth. “Studies show that children who are exposed to a diverse range of natural settings are more creative, have increased physical activity, are more respectful to one another and are more aware of health and good nutrition,” explained Qualified Early Childhood Teacher, Angela Lina.  “It also helps shape relationship skills and critical thinking skills like analysing, questioning, investigating, interpreting data, forming theories, solving problems and developing conclusions.”

Every week the children enjoy taking the bus to beach or the bush. “We get to play with our friends and learn how to look after animals,” said one very enthusiastic participant.

“We’re thrilled by how the children and their parents have embraced our Coastal Kinder program,” Ms Jarvis said.  Many parents tell us that they look forward to their child’s stories and reliving their experiences, and are amazed by the things they’ve learnt.” 

Other Coastal Kinder outings the young eco warriors have undertaken this year include Koala spotting and tree planting on Raymond Island and exploring the Buchan Caves and Ferry Dell, and the educators are looking forward to taking the children on a tour of the Fisherman’s Co-op and a boat safari on the lake to spot marine life.

Find out more about their Children’s Centre’s four-year-old kindergarten program by contacting GLCH or call in and meet their team of early childhood educators at the Children’s Centre open afternoon on 20 June.

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volunteer-week

Celebrating our volunteers!

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On Tuesday 9 May we celebrated National Volunteer Week by treating some of our volunteers to lunch in recognition of the awesome work they do!

Each year National Volunteer Week provides us with the opportunity to celebrate the hard work and generosity of our volunteers, and to let them know how much we value their commitment to our organisation and clients.

In the last 12 months GLCH’s aged and disability volunteers clocked up over 850 hours of community support – delivering 13,876 meals to people living in Bairnsdale, Paynesville, Lakes Entrance and surrounding towns; and driving 23,785 kilometres to take people to non-urgent medical appointments; and our Planned Activity Group volunteers in Lakes Entrance prepared over 2,500 meals for appreciative group participants totalling an additional 3,775 volunteer hours.

Our volunteers are an invaluable asset to staff, our clients and our community. They help make our services stronger and we are truly grateful for their tireless support. We have a number of different volunteering opportunities available from our five locations across East Gippsland. To find out more about these opportunities, head to www.glch.org.au/get-involved/volunteer/ or contact the volunteer coordinator on 5155 8300.

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Consumer Forum 2016 (7)

Clients help us plan for the future

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The aged care team at Gippsland Lakes Community Health (GLCH) recently hosted consumer forums where clients and their carers were invited to share their thoughts and ideas about the home care packages that GLCH provide throughout East Gippsland.

“At Gippsland Lakes Community Health, we value consumer participation and encourage our clients to have meaningful involvement in decisions made about their care, and guidance with service planning and evaluation,” explained Home Care Package coordinator, Debbie Smith. “It also gives us an opportunity to strengthen relationships and improve communication with our clients.”

Clients spoke openly with GLCH staff about their experiences and offered some great suggestions to help improve and promote the home care packages program.  Mrs Marjorie Reid of Bairnsdale was an active participant at the forum and “…thought it was marvellous.”

Amelia Seymour, who attended a smaller group forum agreed saying, “It was really great to put faces to names and see and hear from other community members who are also on packages.”

The forums provided the aged care team with the opportunity to discuss a number of new initiatives with participants including a proposed new service where people who are ineligible for a funded home care package or are on the waiting list will now be able to purchase care services directly from GLCH.  Groups were also asked their opinions on a collection of new promotional resources.

“There was plenty of useful two-way communication and valuable client insight and suggestions that will help us with our future planning,” said Ms Smith. “The forums were a great success and we will repeat them annually.”

To find out more about home care packages or their new self-funded care services, contact the home care packages team on 5152 0022.