Queensland seniors gathered at homes, service clubs, community centres and in aged care dining rooms yesterday to share a roast and a chat in the hopes of beating loneliness.
The Largest Sunday Roast was held by communities and families across Queensland yesterday, October 16, as part of the State’s Seniors Month activities, run by Council on the Ageing (COTA) Queensland.
It aimed to address the fact that one in three older Australians report feeling lonely.
Community-spirited Fairways Retirement Village residents in Bundaberg gathered in their shared hall for a meal of delicious roast chicken with “all the trimmings” – stuffing, gravy, cauliflower and broccoli in bechamel sauce, peas, pumpkin, potatoes and sweet potatoes.
For dessert, residents enjoyed a jelly-topped cheesecake with ice cream.
Retirement Village Manager Shari Westcott said the village’s social club, made up of several residents, began preparing lunch in the commercial kitchen before 9.30 am and had steaming plates of good, tasty food ready to serve after the guests had rolled in.
Almost 40 residents – about half of the village’s residents – chatted over the meal for hours, proving the opportunity to connect over a Sunday roast was an important one.
“The community hall was full of laughter and it was just fantastic to see.”
As the community is made of independent living units, Ms Westcott said there were some residents who weren’t regularly involved in activities and could be more at risk of loneliness.
“We do have some residents that don’t like to come out too often, of their units, so we like to try to encourage everybody to come along and meet their neighbours, have a chat, have a laugh and have a meal together,” she said.
“We are a very community oriented village – we look after each other – and not a day goes by where I don’t have a resident in discussing the needs of the others around them and whether or not we need to give them a helping hand.
“It was an easy thing to put together because we do have that community spirit happening throughout Fairways.”
The lunch was such a hit that the village is planning to run it again next year, and the event is also likely to become a part of Queensland Seniors Month again next year.
Events engaging seniors in Queensland will continue for the rest of this month, while the Tasmanian Seniors Week is kicking off this week, following the finish of the recent Victorian Seniors Festival.