Welcome to issue #11 of our monthly newsletter to keep you close to what's going on in the Lively community. This month we are buzzing with all the activities that are up and running!
We would love you to join the conversation in our new section, 'The Talking Point' - a monthly forum where we hope to engage different perspectives from our diverse community, and learn from one another.
Again, we also have a few excerpts from Helpers' session notes across our programs (shared with Members' permission) to give you insight into the everyday magic that continues to occur between our Helpers and Members.
This month, one of our Lively Buds Member/Helper Duos filmed an interview as part of Darebin Council's finalist nomination in the LGPro Active Ageing & Wellbeing Awards.
We were so thankful to Miranda and Honey for being filmed, that we decided to feature them in our Lively Tales!
Helper Honey recorded in her session notes:
"Always such a treat to see Miranda and catch up and hangout in the garden. Today we had the council come to film us in the garden and ask a couple of questions, I think it went well, although it was a little tricky for Miranda as she was worried she couldn’t speak English greatly but I think she smashed it! It was nice to meet some of the council members and get to share our love of the programme with them. After they left (with figs Miranda insisted they take) we pruned back some of the shrubs in the front yard and then fertilised the lemon trees with some fertiliser I picked up for her. We had some nice chats and a laugh about how the filming might look!"
Buds Member Miranda recounted: "Honey is a beautiful girl. She helps me with everything I need. I got too many plants and I can't keep up anymore by myself. Honey helps me to cut them back. I am very very happy with Honey and all her help. She has beautiful heart and she is strong. She likes the work. And I enjoy to have a cup of tea with her afterwards. The best thing about having Honey is that I need the work done and she helps me. I couldn't do it without her."
A tale of Bromeliads:
We couldn't resist including the photos and story behind these amazing flowers in one of our Buds Program Member's garden.
Above left: Buds Member Laxmi's bromeliads, photographed by Helper Temby
From Member Laxmi:
"Thanks for the opportunity to say a few words about this great scheme under which I have had two marvellous benefits, - one a tidy garden, much tidier than I would ever have achieved and two, the pleasure of working with Temby, my Helper.
"Helper"... is that an adequate word to describe this lovely, happy, hardworking woman, who came into my life a year or two ago thanks to the 'Buds' program started by Darebin Council? No, I would say Temby has been a companion, a person with a positive attitude and a great work ethic. We can always find a range of topics to discuss while we work in the garden, or when we sit and have a break, we have shared bits of our heritage and background, delved into how crazy the world sometimes is, and of course, we are agreed that some of the universe's problems would be solved if only politicians would listen to our solutions. Along the way Temby has learned a bit about bromeliads ... I will let her tell you all about that!"
From Helper Temby:
"Today we did some general tidying up and watering. Lax has her arm in a sling so can’t do much at the moment - and she just needed help with the basics today. Her garden is so big and takes at least half an hour to water the whole thing. There are three hoses just to reach each corner! I also had to photograph this beautiful bromeliad (above left). Some flowers are so otherworldly.
Laxmi and her bromeliads: a slight obsession. It’s been a running joke since I first started gardening for Laxmi, but almost every gardening session we have together, we are planting new bromeliads. Today we made some space for some bromeliads that she traded with someone for home cooked food. We have different varieties clumped together all over the garden. If I had to guess, I’d say there are at least 100 bromeliads."
If you're a Helper or Member with a Lively Tale to tell, send it over to email@example.com - there are gratitude gifts each month for both Helper and Member!"
We are delighted to have kicked off both group workshops and 1:1 tech help sessions with Maribyrnong Libraries as part of their Connect and Communicate program.
Lively Helpers Lauren, Brett, Jeanne, Bhavi and Xinran are working in pairs to run these tech help sessions across Footscray, Maribyrnong and Braybrook Libraries for 6 weeks. During this time, they will be working with between 70-85 older community members and library patrons, exploring everything from how to keep in touch with family and friends online, to buying/selling safely and accessing government services.
A message from Lauren, after the second week of the group workshop at Footscray Library:
"In the first session, the members expressed that they didn't feel confident in using electronic devices or navigating the internet. But through practising what they've learnt in our session at home, they said they now feel more confident with understanding their device and how applications and search engines work.
One member stated that through our sessions, they no longer feel concerned about clicking on something they're unsure about as there will always be a solution to go back to spaces where they are more familiar. Overall, the group has expressed in the last two sessions that they always walk out of our sessions with more knowledge than they have walked in with. The group appears enthusiastic and curious to learn about the devices and how to access online spaces. The group works together cohesively to develop collective goals to help plan future group sessions, and helping the Lively Helpers to deliver workshop sessions which are specific and relevant to their own personal goals and interests."
Quotes from members last Tuesday after their second group session at Footscray:
"I feel like I know how to use my emails better."
"I am a bit more confident with everything because I know that it won't break, and we can just go back."
"I didn't know you could create a scheduled email."
Hats off to the team who are putting on these fun and friendly tech help workshops with follow-up 1:1 sessions. Thank you also to Andrew from Lively's Board of Directors who helped out at Maribyrnong Library in week one!
Above: Helpers Brett and Lauren with participants of Connect + Communicate at Footscray library.
We're so stoked to be welcoming a couple of new superstar Helpers to cater for our members in the Maribyrnong area: Shaun and Lauren!
Shaun (below left) will be working with Mandarin speakers in Melbourne CBD and the western suburbs, and Lauren (below right) is already smashing out fantastic workshops at libraries and community centres.
Our Light Support program has Lively Helpers visiting Members' homes to help navigate their digital devices in friendly, supportive sessions. We encourage ongoing blocks of at least 4 x 90 minute sessions for the Member and Helper to get to know each other and give the Member the chance to practice the newly acquired skills in between sessions.
"Today Dorothy learnt how to put images on word documents and delete unwanted word documents from her computer. We also learnt how to shut down the computer without having to log in. We finished off by sending an email to a friend and attaching images to it. Next session Dorothy would like to work on learning how to scan and send documents and also how to forward emails."- Helper Rebekah
"I had a session with Margaret on Thursday afternoon. I went into her room and sat with her and helped to guide her through creating folders in the pages app so that she could organise her documents. She showed me some of her poetry and it was so sweet to read. We then played a few games of scrabble on her iPad. Her speech is quite impaired but with slow going we were able to communicate well." - Helper Veronica
Lively Home Care is centred around meaningful relationships. So we've been saddened by the recent passing of one of our treasured Home Care Members, Helen, who passed away peacefully in her sleep in February, aged 93. Helen's family were kind enough to invite our Care Manager, John, to attend her funeral service - an honour that he was pleased to accept. In recognition of Helen's passing, John had these words to share with our community:
"Helen joined the Lively Community as a Home Care Member in September 2020. At Helen's funeral her family spoke passionately about her strength of character, her determination and desire to be independent, and of her love of family. Indeed, Helen met life on her own terms throughout her life and working career. She completed her certificate and qualification as a Fitness Instructor at the age of 78 years and up until the onset of COVID-19 in 2020 provided fitness classes for the residents of the retirement village she resided at.
Helen's bright and cheerful personality will be very missed by Helpers and staff at Lively going forward. We extend our deepest condolences to Helen's family."
Left: Lively Home Care Member, Helen
(Photo provided by Helen's daughter Viviane.)
We are trying a new approach in Lively Home Care!
Home Care Helpers Dani, Alyssa, Chloe, Alexander and Michelle are leading an exciting pilot project in collaboration with Lively's Care Manager John and Helper Coordinator Robin.
To date, Lively Helpers have worked largely independently with their individual Members. But this fabulous group were keen to explore more collaborative ways of supporting Members, by surrounding them with a small community of Helpers. We're inspired by examples such as Buurtzorg in the Netherlands, where local teams of nurses work together to support individuals in their local community with great success.
The team will be reaching out to Members they work with in the coming weeks to gauge their interest in being a part of this project. We're excited to see what happens when Helpers put their heads together!
At Lively HQ, we continue to mix up our various team meetings online and in-person to keep the Lively ship on course. In March we have been busy tweaking some of our internal systems and processes - making things more efficient and user-friendly, so that we can support more people! The HQ team have been a little stretched over the last year, but also very dedicated to our shared vision of putting strong operational foundations in place for future growth. Sophia has taken this quite seriously, donning her air-traffic control headset to help guide us through any turbulence!
Left: (From top left clockwise) Lively Founder + CEO Anna; Operations Manager Paul; Helper Coordinator Robin; Community Guide Sophia and Home Care Manager John.
Lively Matching Board
We have just completed our first month using the new Lively Matching Board - a new approach to facilitating matches between our Members and Helpers!
We had been enjoying more and more requests for matches with Lively Helpers via our partners, and internally through our own Home Care program (yay!). So we needed a new approach to connect all these matches in a timely manner. Previously, HQ Coordinators had been manually matching each service request with a Helper - a time consuming, clunky and costly process!
At a Helper workshop in January, we discussed the idea of a jobs board approach -automatically sharing all the requests we received on a central board for Helpers to consider and share their interest in. This idea got the thumbs-up from our Helpers, so we created our Matching Board app during February, and launched it in the first week of March (phew!).
It is exciting to see this Matching Board changing the dynamic for Helpers - enabling them to determine what is right for them, and expanding the availability of Helpers to cover the needs of our Members. For example, one Helper reported that knowing about service requests in different parts of Melbourne meant they might consider submitting their interest, as ‘they might be in that part of town on just the right day'. Previously, our Coordinators might have assumed that it would be too far for that Helper to travel, and a match might have gone begging.
If you aren't a Lively Helper, hopefully this feels like a backstage glimpse into the inner workings of matching at Lively. Projects like this are great fun and have been born out of sharing ideas across the Lively organisation. If the Matching Board sparks any ideas for you then please email Paul (firstname.lastname@example.org) who is collating the feedback. Thank you to all who have provided valuable feedback so far!
Lively Mission Circle
This month, we convened the second gathering of Lively’s ‘Mission Circle’ – a forum for individuals across the Lively community to come together and reflect on how we are going as an organisation, and to consider where we’re headed next. The motivation for establishing the Mission Circle was to create a space where anybody who has an interest in Lively’s purpose and success – be it Helpers, Members, Board members or HQ team members – can come together and share equal voice in discussions about how our organisation is evolving. In doing so, we’re working to break down old structures that typically concentrate these sorts of strategic conversations at the Board or management level – shutting others, and the valuable perspectives they have to offer, out of the conversation.
At this month’s (virtual) meeting, we were so thrilled to see 16 people on the call, and to welcome nine of our fabulous Helpers into the discussion. We spent the meeting sharing reflections on what we’ve learned over the past 12 months of our operations, and capturing the critical questions and challenges that we need to tackle next to keep Lively moving forward most effectively.
Some of the questions that were highlighted by the group included:
“How can we grow our impact in a sustainable way?”
“How can we find a model of employment that is both fulfilling and sustainable for Helpers?”
“How can we bring Helpers and Members into Lively’s driving seat?”
These questions, and others that you can view HERE, will be used to shape the agenda for a ‘Sensing and Visioning Day’ that will be held on Saturday the 30th of April. On this day, we’ll dive deeper into exploring these questions, and charting Lively’s next steps forward. As with the Mission Circle, we welcome anybody who’d like to participate in the conversation to come along!
It was inspiring to see Helpers, HQ team members and Board members all contributing equally to the Mission Circle’s discussions, and to feel the drive and commitment in the group to making Lively the best that it can be.
The Mission Circle will continue to meet every two months to keep these conversations going, and we warmly encourage anybody who would like to participate – either in the Mission Circle or in the Sensing and Visioning Day in April - to reach out to Anna (email@example.com or 03 9070 4741) for details. We’d particularly love to start seeing some of our Members in these spaces too, so don’t be shy in reaching out!
LGPro Active Ageing and Wellbeing Awards Ceremony
Lively was thrilled to be invited as guests of Darebin Council to attend the LGPro Active Ageing and Wellbeing Awards at the Art Centre on March 31st. These awards recognise outstanding contributions by individuals and teams in local government to the areas of active ageing and wellbeing in their community. Paul, Anna and Sophia enjoyed a wonderful in-person (!) dinner and drinks with Darebin members from the Supported and Connected Living Team.
We were all so inspired by keynote speaker The Hon Kay Patterson, who spoke of the importance of intergenerational relationships for the health and wellbeing of both young and old, and to combat ageism in our community. Kay also spoke of the important role that service providers can play in recognising signs of elder abuse, and in advocating for or supporting individuals who may be experiencing abuse. Dr Patterson recommended https://www.compass.info/ as a source of hundreds of resources to support people experiencing elder abuse. She also noted the Elder Abuse Hotline (1800 353 374), which can be called at any time for information and support.
Darebin's 'Age Friendly Darebin' program had been selected as a finalist in the non-grant based (Council-funded) category. We were so proud that the submission featured our Buds Intergenerational Gardening Program, along with several other great initiatives by the Darebin team. While all finalists were deeply deserving, Moreland City Council won the award for their fantastic 'Faces and Places' initiative - a community art project that connected older residents with primary school aged students, and culminated in a mural of intergenerational self-portraits on the Coburg Library.
Lively was thrilled that our work featured in the submission of both Darebin City Council, who received a High Commendation, and another finalist - the Integrated Digital Literacy Program at the City of Melbourne. Congratulations to all the finalists! We love working with these progressive Councils who are driving real change at the community level, and were proud to see their achievements acknowledged at the event.
Above (from L to R): Lively Buds Helper Honey with Member Miranda; Lively represented in the City of Melbourne's finalist submission for their Integrated Digital Literacy Program; City of Melbourne program participant with Lively Helper Lachie.
Self Care for the Mind
Recently one of our Helpers, Chloe shared the Sayana-Mental Health Care App with us at HQ. It is really user friendly and a good way to check in on how you are faring during these somewhat turbulent times. So we thought we'd share it with you!
"As you all know, I am always on the bandwagon for promoting positive mental health, so I wanted to let you guys know of an app that I have been using myself of the past few weeks that I think would be really awesome to show off in the Gazette or word-of-mouth to other helpers and HQ team to encourage positive mental health! Its called Sayana — Mental Self-Care For Everyone. You progress through the app by completing short check-ins that can either be done through typing or by voice and it tracks your moods over a period of time. I have used so many similar apps, but often they’re not accompanied with well-established research and peer-reviewed information or they throw it all at you at once which is way too overwhelming for the brain to handle, especially during times of distress. However, so far this app has really amazing little snippets of advice and tips to promote healthier thoughts (I have attached a pic of some of the advice, but normally it speaks it to you in a slide show style to promote mindfulness while listening)." - Helper Chloe
Let's talk! We'd love you to join the conversation below with an open, curious mind - seeking to understand other perspectives, and to share your own - as we bring our community together. Please keep your comments in line with our Lively Community Code and we'll all have a good time!
Lately in Lively HQ meetings we have been talking about the need to respect time boundaries and our energy around work; to switch off and unplug when not at work to fully recharge, and also sensing and responding to our energy rhythms when at work. We are not robots or machines, and how effective can we be if we are overstretched and overtired?
With these questions on our minds, Dumbo Feather magazine's recent edition on REST definitely struck a chord. Click below to read the editorial... here's a teaser:
"We have been told for too long that the only important thing is how much we do: how much we work, how much we acquire, how much we solve. It’s a lie, and we are exhausted."
Lively Community: What are your thoughts and do you include or prioritise rest in your week? What works for you? We'd love to hear from you in the comments section down below.
Are you a Member, Helper or Friend of Lively with a pearl of wisdom, or any content ideas for the Lively Gazette that you’d like to share with us? Please! We'd love your contribution: