A large number of SAMAA seniors, members and volunteers filled the Cars Road Shelter of the famous Fagan Park at Galston on Sunday 6 October to enjoy annual SAMAA picnic.

South Asian Muslim Association of Australia (SAMAA) has been caring for community elders since 2007 and organises events at regular intervals to alleviate social isolation faced by seniors after their retirement and as they age. SAMAA organised a special bus service from Auburn in coordination with Gallipoli Home to bring seniors to the picnic venue.

Attendees enjoyed the delicious barbecue and South Asian Cuisine including biryani and desserts, much of which was prepared by SAMAA volunteers.

The seniors not only enjoyed a day out with their contemporaries but were also given useful information about various aged care services.

They were also entertained by local artists. Razia Sultana, a Sydney singer, sang a Hamd to begin the cultural segment. Later she entertainment the audience with a few Bollywood songs.

Mrs Nuzhat Ejaz and Mrs Shaheen Aleemullah conducted an interesting quiz in which the seniors participated with much enthusiasm. Mrs Kaneez Fatima Ali, Mr Rauf Rizvi and Mr Shahid Malik recited poetry to the delight of seniors.

Anju Mathur, the Dementia and Well Being consultant of Uniting and recipient of 2019 NSW Volunteer of the award, gave an inspiring talk.

Anju stressed the need for the community elders to tell their difficulties and old age issues to relevant agencies. She said that there is huge reluctance among seniors of South Asian communities in disclosing their health and personal matters due to cultural traditions.

The elderly generally would tell the aged care assessment bodies that their children were looking after them well, which may not be true very often. By doing so, they lose their entitlement of the services which they deserve.

Anju gave details of the assessment process by MyAgedCare which is essential to receive any service through aged care providers. The government offers Consumer Directed Care (CDC) Home Care Packages with four levels of care depending on the physical and mental needs of elders.

SAMAA team would love to help elders in this assessment process in coordination with the service providers. Once a person is assessed as eligible and subject to availability, the Home Care Package approval will be allocated to the consumer. This will facilitate the provision of appropriate services. A similar process is required for admission into an aged care facility.

Mr Zahid Jamil of SAMAA told the audience that SAMAA has signed Memorandum of Understanding with various providers. These include Uniting, one of the largest service providers in Australia, IWAA, the Muslim service provider for Home Care and Gallipoli Home, the first aged care facility built by a Muslim institution in Auburn.

He urged the community elders and their families to come forward and avail the services which the seniors deserve after life long services to their families and the nation.

SAMAA also offers its own yeoman volunteering services such as take seniors to doctors,  Grocery shoppings, Social events, Mosque visits etc. The Volunteers may also assist our Seniors in Home Cleaning, Cooking, Delivery of Home-cooked Meals and even spend time with them so as to alleviate social isolation.

SAMAA needs volunteers. You can register yourself for this noble cause via the link http://samaa.org.au/home/contact-us/volunteer-registration-form/

For more details, please visit SAMAA website http://samaa.org.au/