Chats Program for older Tasmanians
Lifeline Tasmania provides two programs specifically for older people, to increase their connectedness to the community:
- Chats is a state-wide program for people aged 60 and over who are living independently at home.
- The Community Visitors Scheme is for people living at home who are a recipient of a Home Care Package and for people living in aged care homes in Southern Tasmania. For more information on the Community Visitors Scheme, click here.
Chats is a unique program providing older Tasmanians with the opportunities to:
- Develop friendships
- Enhance emotional security
- Rebuild social independence
- Embrace Life
Chats is a state wide program providing older Tasmanians with the opportunities to: develop friendships, enhance emotional security, rebuild social independence and embrace life.
Lifeline Tasmania runs this unique and ground breaking program which focuses on those members of our community who have become isolated, lonely and without the support networks we often take for granted. Older people are particularly vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness owing to loss of partner, friends and family, mobility or income. Social isolation and loneliness can have a detrimental effect on health and well-being.
The Chats program provides opportunities for older people, living independently, to develop new friendships and social connections. We are funded by the Department of Social Services with the goal to help individuals remain independent for as long as possible.
Feeling socially connected makes a huge, positive difference to emotional and physical well-being. We encourage our Participants to develop a sense of social connectedness and provide opportunities to develop peer relationships which can help them maintain their independence. To meet these objectives, Chats uses principals of Community Directed Care to work with our Participants to deliver the program they want and meet the goals that they have identified. The ethos behind the Chats Program is to engender resilience, encourage independence and empower Participants.
Helping older Tasmanians to create and sustain improved quality of life by developing a sense of belonging through participation and inclusion in activities, social engagement and community connections
- New experiences
- Sense of belonging
- Peer relationships
- Sense of community
- Community connections
- Increased sense of self worth
- Feeling of security
- Boost in confidence
- Personal growth
A reduction in loneliness and isolation, defined as 'Emotional Loneliness' stemming from the absence of an intimate figure (e.g. partner or best friend), 'Social Loneliness' which is related to the absences of a broad network of friends and others and "Social Isolation' which concerns the objective characteristics of the situation individuals face with their networks or social relationships.
To increase participation of older people in their connection with the wider community.
To sustain and improve health and well-being by encouraging our Participants to develop a sense of social connectedness and maintain their independence
To build capacity and resilience Chats meets these objectives by having fun, having new experiences, meeting new people and building relationships which create a feeling of friendship, support and connection.
- A variety of social activities
- Regular social phone calls
- A monthly newsletter
- Links to organisations and community events
Chats Volunteers and Participants receive a monthly copy of the Chats News which outlines upcoming activities and provides information about Chats. Participants and Volunteers are encouraged to contribute to the Chats News which is a great way to share stories, artwork, jokes etc. Our newsletter is yet another way of helping to build a sense of belonging and friendship
Participants can receive or choose to receive a friendly phone call from a Volunteer each week. The purpose of the call is to stay in touch and to provide friendly conversation. Participants have the opportunity to talk with many different Volunteers over time, building meaningful connections with each of them. Volunteer callers ring at a pre-arranged time and can also provide information as required. There is no pressure for participants to join groups or activities. Our focus is on getting to know participants and supporting the direction each person chooses for their life.
Chats offers a wide variety of social activities. Many are organised in conjunction with other organisations and allow participants to meet people in your local community and join existing groups. Other activities are organised by Chats and offer the chance to mingle with Chats Participants and Volunteers. Some activities take place on a regular basis at a consistent time and place while others are one-off events such as bus trips or special celebrations. There is always someone to give a warm welcome and help things run smoothly.
We are keen to respond to the desires of our Participants. We work enthusiastically to put their ideas into action. Many of our activities are organised in response to ideas from participants so if there’s somewhere our members like to go or something they’d like to do we will do whatever we can to make it happen!
We understand that transport may be a barrier to community involvement for older people so we arrange and subsidise transport for social activities. Transport may be taxis, Community Transport, bus or one of the Chats vehicles.
Anyone over 60 years of age, living independently in the community who would like to increase their social contact, is eligible to join Chats. We would love to hear from you and talk about how Chats might fit into your life or the life of someone you know. There is no cost to join.
This is a video of some of the Participants involvement in the program.
Make a difference in people's lives and have a most rewarding experience by becoming a Chats Volunteer. Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to join our team of dedicated volunteers.
For further information about volunteering opportunities, please visit the volunteering section of this website. Thank you.
A video about Chats Volunteers involvement in the program.