Aged Care and Disability Support Services
VASS has many programs and activities across the State under its Aged Care and Disability Support Services banner. There have been a variety of events and resources produced in our Aged Care Programs, such as producing and launching the Dance Fit DVD, that educates and encourages older people to stay fit through cultural dancing, and the Al Zakira DVD, that provides education on Dementia through a cultural lens. These were produced through the Healthy Ageing and Service Improvement grant from the Department of Social Services.
Planned Activity Group (PAG) / Social Support Groups
VASS Planned Activity Groups (PAGs) and Social Support Groups assist disabled and frail aged individuals or their carers, who are socially isolated. PAGs assist in maintaining clients’ personal independence and connections with the community. VASS is funded to work with people of Arabic Speaking Background, inclusive of Assyrian and Chaldean Communities. VASS PAGs are culturally and linguistically appropriate. PAGs undertake a variety of social activities ranging from going on outings, having guest speakers, undertaking exercise classes and celebrating special occasions such as International Women’s Day.
VASS runs PAGs for a women’s group in Newport, a women’s group in Epping, women’s and men’s groups in Dallas, a new men’s Group in Broadmeadows, a group in Casey and a group in Dandenong North.
PAG members benefit in a variety of ways from the program including through:
- Having their social, cultural, emotional, physical and recreational needs met.
- Education and enhancement of physical and mental health, including healthy ageing strategies.
- Provision of respite and support for carers.
- Developing and maintaining skills for everyday living, thereby maintaining independence and preventing admission to long term residential care and hospital.
In 2016-2017 the Dallas Women’s Group worked with students from the University of Melbourne to create a DVD on Healthy Eating called ‘Eat, Health, Wealth’, which was launched in October 2017.
VASS in the South East runs two Social Support Groups: one in Berwick (Casey City) and the other in Dandenong North. The two groups are aimed at offering ASB elders and those who are isolated, a social environment in which they could meet and participate in the wider community. This experience allows participants to learn about services available to them, work on improving their mental health and wellbeing by participating in small projects. This includes strength training for older people, and cooking for a healthier diet. The two groups engage in social outings at the end of each term. The group operating in Berwick is based at Berwick Senior Hall, 112 High Street every Thursday between 11:00am and 4:00pm.
Arabic Women Seniors Group
This program aims to bring isolated older women together for social interaction. The majority of the seniors have the following barriers in accessing mainstream activities:
- Language barriers which is why they find it so beneficial to be part of this group.
- Cultural barriers, ASB communities share cultural norms related to customs and tradition with despite differences in religion or country of origin which are shared in the group, for example food, cultural games, music and socialising norms.
The Arabic Women Seniors Group operates from Jan Wilson Community Centre every Thursday between 10:30am and 1:30pm.
The group has been involved in a range of different projects and activities, including:
- “Let’s Cook and Talk”. The project provides educational information on the link between cooking healthy meal and women’s health, while at the same time introduces other cultural groups to Arabic /Middle Eastern and Halal food. ‘Let’s Cook and Talk.’ The Department of Health and Human Services managed by the State Wide Resource Centre at ECCV funds transport for participants.
- The group has also completed a full year of a gentle exercise class at Oasis Leisure Centre.
The PAGs and Social Support Groups in the North and West are funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and the Commonwealth Department of Health respectively.
VASS’ Social Support Group in the South East City of Casey is funded by the Casey Council under their Brokerage Funding Program. The group in Dandenong North is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Participation for CALD Seniors Grant Program 2016, Seniors Program and Participation Unit, and by the Federal Government.
Aged over 65 years, or under 65 years with a disability, or carer.
All VASS programs and activities are free of charge.
Small fees may be incurred in relation to recreational activity of excessive costs.
For more information please contact Lina Hassan at VASS Head Office (03) 9359 2861 or [email protected]
South East area:
For more information please contact Iman Allaf on (03) 9767 1995 / 0421 990 216 or [email protected]
The Volunteer Coordination Program provides mutual companionship through home visits and social outings for those who may be socially isolated, living with a disability, or of old age. This program provides valuable connections for community members from Arabic, Assyrian and Chaldean speaking backgrounds. Links are established with volunteers who share similar languages and cultural backgrounds. VASS provides volunteers who are culturally and linguistically competent, and educated in community service information. Volunteers play an integral role in passing knowledge on to clients and linking them with other programs they are eligible for.
Volunteers play a vital role in encouraging community involvement as well as providing accessible social support for clients. Clients feel encouraged to attend community events as they are accompanied by a volunteer helping them calm initial nerves and doubts that may be associated to joining social groups. The program is vital in assisting elderly people and people living with disabilities to maintain their independence. In many cases it also provides much needed respite for carers.
The program also serves a second purpose providing empowerment to volunteers involved, who are members of the Arabic, Assyrian and Chaldean communities themselves. Through training, being trusted with the responsibility of being a source of support to other community members, volunteers reported that their self –esteem and confidence increases.
Both groups involved gain an increased knowledge of other services available to them and other information provided at information sessions including, nutrition, how to vote in elections, legal aid, HACC services, along with a range of other topics.
The Volunteer Coordination program is funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
All VASS programs and activities are free of charge. Small fees may be incurred in relation to recreational activity of excessive costs.
For more information please contact Lina Hassan for more information at VASS Head Office (03) 9359 2861 or [email protected]
Volunteer Application Form
Access and Support Program / Specialised Support Services
The Access and Support program supports clients who are over 65 years, under 65 with a disability and carers from Arabic Speaking Background (ASB), inclusive of Assyrian and Chaldean communities, that experience barriers to accessing HACC and Aged Care services. The Access and Support workers also work more broadly in the HACC and Aged Care service systems to provide information and advice, cultural knowledge and assisting generic agencies in developing culturally appropriate service responses for ASB specific clients.
The Access and Support program is very beneficial for the ASB community as a major barrier to accessing services include cultural stigma around aged care and a lack of knowledge of what is available, which this program is dedicated to addressing.
VASS supported people who have a disability or are aging and their carers by:
- Enriched client knowledge and awareness of the services available.
- Enhanced communication between clients and local councils (HACC providers) through community forums.
- Increased engagement with Aged Care services through support to access My Aged Care.
Who is eligible for VASS Access and Support Activities?
- 65 years or over; or
- On a disability pension
- An unpaid carer of one of the above; and,
- Eligible for HACC or CHSP services
- Socially isolated and disadvantaged
- Experience barriers to accessing HACC or CHSP services
- Of ASB or Assyrian Chaldean communities/backgrounds
- Living in the regions: Hume, Moreland, Darebin, Whittlesea, Banyule, Nillumbik, Yarra, Hobson’s Bay (over 65 year olds only)
The Access and Support program is funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
Support from an Access and Support worker is confidential and free of charge.
For more information please contact Lina Hassan at VASS Head Office (03) 9359 2861 or [email protected]
Community Visitor’s Scheme (CVS)
VASS Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) aims to enrich the lives of senior ASB individuals who are at risk of social isolation. The program promotes the social and emotional wellbeing of the recipients of Australian Government subsidised Home Care Packages (from any provider) through matching the older person with a volunteer.
The benefits of the Community Visitors Scheme for the clients are:
- Increased social and emotional wellbeing
- Decreased feeling of social isolation
- Connectedness to the ASB community
- Formation of a long-term friendship
- Occasional outings such as visits to a park as part of the volunteer-client relationship
The volunteers involved have a sound knowledge of the cultural importance and values. The volunteers will be matched to the client based on preferences to provide a comfortable, fun, and familiar experience.
Some of the visitations the volunteers will undertake include:
- A one on one visit by a volunteer to a client in accordance to the Home Care Package (HPC)
- Possible transportation of client for a local outing i.e. a trip to the local shops
Who is eligible?
The Victorian Arabic Social Services CVS volunteer program and visits will be available to clients who are receiving a Home Care Package (HCP) who have been assigned by their aged care provider as an person experiencing or being at risk of, social isolation it could be because of social or cultural reasons or reasons relating to a disability where client requires companionship.
Volunteers have always been an important asset to VASS and crucial contributors to community life. Volunteers give up some of their time to exercise rewarding roles and experiences. Whilst there aren’t many requirements to become a volunteer, it is of great principle to maintain a motivated and compassionate character to be able to contribute to quality outcomes, add value to projects and an enlightening experience.
All volunteers will be:
- A valued member of VASS
- Educated on organizational structure and policies
- Well informed of task, roles, and responsibilities
- Supported in your role
- Initial visit with supervision and following visits with supervisor follow ups e. phone call
- Ensure you are in a safe environment
- Provided with the appropriate and adequate training
As a Volunteer, your commitment to CVS may include but not limited to:
- At least 1 hour per fortnight
- Home visit an assigned client; identified as experiencing or at risk of isolation, with a need of companionship and friendship.
For more information please contact the program coordinator, Dima Ladkani, on (03) 9359 2861 or email [email protected]
CVS Volunteer Application Form
CVS Home Care Provider Referral Form