An Age Concern initiative to bring elderly together is now available in Waihī.
Chinwag Cafe opened its doors at Waihī Community Resource Centre on July 1 for elders to mingle and enjoy a hot drink.
Age Concern Hauraki-Coromandel manager Glenis Bell told The Profile Chinwag Cafes had been available in Ngātea for around five years and Thames for around three years, so it was decided to establish one in Waihī after volunteers noticed many Waihī elders were experiencing loneliness.
“One of the services we run is called a visiting service and we have volunteers who go into people’s homes for a cup of tea and a chat, but you can’t put every older person into the same bucket,” she said.
“So Chinwag is another option for people, so they can choose which suits them best and it’s there really to address those who are feeling lonely.
“Loneliness is quite overpowering for some people, and if you live alone [Chinwag Cafe] could be the only time you get to talk to someone for the whole week, when you come and have a cup of tea and a chat.”
Glenis said a range of things could cause Waihī elders to experience loneliness.
“It can be that their partner has just died, or they’ve moved house and they’re new to Waihī, or their family has moved away for employment or schooling,” she said.
“Older adults tend to have a different terminology to younger people… an older adult would very rarely admit to that terminology [of mental health].
“But they will admit to being lonely and the loneliness has got the same symptoms… so it is something that needs to be addressed.”
Glenis hoped the cafe could also encourage elders to socialise again after disruptions caused by Covid-19.
“Some older adults are still reluctant to meet in groups and they like to keep themselves isolated because they think that’s what will keep them safe, and of course that compounds the loneliness.
“[Chinwag Cafe’s] encouraging them to come back out and encourage them to connect with people… to provide the safest environment they can to make them feel comfortable.”
DETAILS: Waihī’s Chinwag Cafe will be open every Friday from 10:30am at Waihī Community Resource Centre on Mueller St.