For many elders living in the Wairarapa, Family Works’ Wisdom and Wellbeing programme is the highlight of the week.
Members meet up each Wednesday at Turret House in Featherston to take part in an ever-changing roster of activities which includes guest presentations, shopping, in house activities, group discussions, tai chi, the odd movie and sight-seeing tours.
The programme is the only one of its kind in South Wairarapa and aims to help elders maintain their sense of identity, enjoy companionship and have fun in their lives.
“For some in the group it’s the opportunity to meet with other older people which makes the programme special for them,” says Seniors Coordinator Pauline Cave.
“For others, it’s a place where they come to feel involved and valued. One attendee who has been coming each week for the last three or four years has a disability, and understands what is happening but has limited verbal skills.
“She feels loved and valued as a group member, and can always be relied upon to help serve the morning tea, be the model at the fashion show, and hand out the presents at Christmas.”
Wisdom and Wellbeing has been going strong for the last fifteen years and enjoys a loyal membership of around 30 elders.
“We try to keep things local so that everyone can take part, and our outings are both social and practical,” says Pauline.
“Apart from our quizzes and group activities, on our outings we also make sure our members who don’t drive get a chance to fill their prescriptions, buy batteries for their hearing aids, or whatever else is needed.
“Our last stop before coming home is usually to buy an ice cream in a cone for everyone. Just like old times.”
What the elders say
“I am a widow and aged 80 years. Today I have been on an Age Concern/Wisdom and Wellbeing trip to see a film at Martinborough and have a fish and chip lunch at Lake Ferry…We have been on some super bus trips and had plenty of laughs – on the bus and at Turret House. I have made plenty of friends and we miss each other if we are away. Some have passed on but they are not forgotten.”
– Glenys Harris
“The Wisdom and Wellbeing Group is a highlight of my week. As I have partial sight and cannot drive, it is more difficult for me to get out and about…it means a lot to me to meet other older people there who I don’t see otherwise. Sometimes Pauline takes the van up to Masterton for shopping which is so helpful to me, especially if I need to buy something that’s difficult to carry on the bus, or get to a shop away from the bus route. The fun and fellowship in the group is special to me.”
– Shirley Jamieson
“As a newcomer living in Featherston, I am overcome by the generous, helpful and kind attitude the local community has shown me, especially the Wisdom and Wellbeing Health Group at Turret House. We meet every Wednesday and the programmes are varied, interesting and well organised. I have developed friendships by attending this group and there is always a lot of laughter. I certainly feel most at home. What an asset this group is to the Featherston community.”
– Lucy Hiam
The Wisdom and Wellbeing programme relies heavily on funding from the local community, trusts and foundations, and is just one of the many ways Family Works goes above and beyond to help vulnerable members of the community.
Family Works would like to extend its thanks to the Thomas George Macarthy Trust for its ongoing support, including its recent grant of $7,500 towards this programme.