On the couch with COTA

On September 12 2019, an audience of over 200 services providers and health professional gathered at Eatons Hill Hotel to attend the Brisbane North PNH’s Annual Aged Care Forum exploring the theme ‘The New Age of Ageing’.

Bronwyn Bidstrup, COTA Aged Care Coordinator and Volunteer Community Ambassador Zelda Lawrie held an informal armchair interview as part the program following on from the keynote speech delivered by Kirsty Nowlan from the Benevolent Society, who highlighted the importance of changing social norms.  Bronwyn opened the conversation by asking Zelda what gets her up in the morning.

Questions for the armchair interview were drawn from Meaningful Australia’s  “See Me. Know me” campaign, which aims to acknowledge the life stories beneath the older person you see in front of you.

Bronwyn opened the conversation by asking Zelda what gets her up in the morning.
Zelda responded by stating “being 70 years of age is a privilege” and “an enthusiasm for life and being grateful for all the things I have experienced”.

Zelda talked about her values and beliefs and how activism and doing the right thing, on the right occasion, was important to her. She acknowledged the importance of grabbing life as much as you can, with the motto “if not now, then when?”.

Gaining her degree and having children are the highlights of her life, so far. She spoke about staying connected with people and things she loved by seeking out celebrations to organise and activities she enjoyed.

Zelda also highlighted some of the challenges people faced by people in aged care, particularly around issues of loneliness, depression and grief. She reflected on how difficult it must be for people being taken out of something they have known for a long time and the importance of finding out what matters to people and making personal connections.

Her concluding words were “Strive beyond and above yourself!

Zelda has been a valued Volunteer Community Ambassador since 2016 and was involved in joint photo exhibition with QUT which aimed at contrasting the stereotypical images of ageing, challenge the myths and negative stereotypes about ageing.  Some of Zelda’s images were on display, encouraging people to think about their own expectations and future hopes as they age.