Doutta Galla Community Health
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Doutta Galla provides high quality, culturally appropriate and accessible primary, community and mental health services with a particular focus on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in the cities of Melbourne and Moonee Valley.
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Stories in the media - December 2011

Media stories for December

Moonee Valley Leader - 12 December - Centre at heart of many lives

Essendon Adult Day Centre lucky dinner prize winner receiving her box of chocolates.

Elderly care is not an exact science, bu the Essendon Adult Day Care Centre could probably write the book on how to do it well. Or at least that is the opinion of Cecil Rowland, someone who has become a familiar face at the Keilor Road centre over the past 10 years.

Mr Rowland became involved through his late wife Val when she was diagnosed with dementia.

He would accompany Val to the gatherings at the Gannawarra Centre where he would sit at the "boys' end" of the room while the women would chat down the other end.

Mr Rowland would lend a friendly ear to the men who rely on the day centre as a way of staying connected with people from their generation.

"But I got friendly with them and when Val went into the nursing home, the girls asked if I could keep coming along (to the day centre) for a while and chat to the fellas," Mr Rowland said.

"And I have stayed there ever since."

Essendon Adult Day Centre has been widely respected among the elderly community for the past 21 years and focuses on social activities and starting friendships.

Volunteer drivers bus the men and women from their homes to the day centre, where a warm cup of tea and scones are often waiting for them.

The day centre provides day trips that are designed to keep minds sharp and to provide a social outlet for people otherwise confined to their homes.

"They (the day centre staff) are great at organising activities," Mr Rowlands said.

"You have to imagine we are an old group so they have to find things that will amuse us, but also help to educate.

"And they make us do exercise that we allegedly hate, but secretly enjoy. It is good fun."

Mr Rowlands said the centre had become an important part of his life. "I'm in that position where I am sort of half a client now, but have been a volunteer for a number of years," he said.

"For me, I live on my own, my wife has been dead for a number of years and had lived in a nursing home before that. So just to be able to come down and mix with people my own age is great. I try and help where I can and integrate."

The centre's dedicated staff are pivotal to its success, Mr Rowland said.

"They (the staff) are unique people. You'll find any one of them at any stage can go and sit with the clients," he said. "It's like a friendship, for want of a better word where the whole thing revolves around these wonderful people.

Healthy merger

Essendon Adult Day Centre recently merged with Doutta Galla Community Health. Doutta Galla acting CEO Dianne Couch said the centre was highly regarded and she was "thrilled that Essendon Adult Day Centre has joined the Doutta Galla family".

The merger will give the centre's clients greater access to Doutta Galla's primary health services such as podiatry, dental and physiotherapy.

This is a new service in Doutta Galla's Primary and Community Health Program.

The day centre operates from the Gannawarra Centre in Keilor Road North Essendon.

Details: doutta.org.au

Moonee Valley Leader - 12 December - Cooking Time

People living in Flemington's highrise housing commission flats face another long, hot summer without adequate cooling.

Tenants have resorted to sleeping in nearby Debney Park in the past to escape the heat in their flats. One community health worker said temperatures can reach up to 50 degrees in the flats on the worst summer days.

Flemington Tenants Association president Faith Griffiths said the situation had not changed since last summer.

Residents had previously asked for airconditioners to be installed, but Ms Griffiths said tenants would have trouble paying the high energy bills.

"The majority of us are here because we can't afford things like that," Ms Griffiths said.
"If you're getting high bills and you can't afford to pay them, they will eventually cut power off."

Department of Human Services spokesman Mike Griffin said airconditioning was provided for tenants with medical conditions. Energy concessions were also available for low income residents.

However, as with private landlords, the government is not required by law to provide airconditioning to public housing tenants.

"At the Flemington housing estate, all high-rise flats undergoing upgrade work are being modified to allow tenants to supply and fit their own airconditioning systems," Mr Griffin said.

Doutta Galla Health Services and Flemington Neighbourhood Renewal joined forces to run a 12-month pilot project last summer that offered tenants tips on how to stay cool.

Similar heat alerts and advice will be provided again this summer. Doutta Galla project team leader Tayfun Pelen said the health service ran information sessions in various languages, because there was still a lack of understanding about managing the heat.

"You have 200-odd flats in a building facing the sun and after a while it becomes an oven," Mr Pelen said. "It can be quite devastating for some families to be stuck in a little unit when it's 40 degrees outside and it can reach 50 degree inside."

Moonee Valley Mayor Jim Cusack said the council was working to make Debney Park a more attractive place for families to cool off on warm nights. The council was also encouraging vulnerable people such as the elderly to submit their names to a community safety register, he said.

One of the four Flemington highrise towers and a separate elderly persons' high-rise tower includes an airconditioned communtiy room.

Housing Minister Wendy Lovell said the government was developing a new housing framework that would look at all policies surrounding public housing. A discussion paper would be released in early 2012. Ms Lovell encourage input from the community.

Moonee Valley Weekly - 6 December 2011 - In-brief - Free advice on health

Health screening organisation Prevention Xpress, Doutta Galla Community Health Service and Flemington Neighbourhood Renewal will host free health information sessions for residents in Flemington.
The sessions will include computer touch screens where residents can follow prompts to create reports about their risk of health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

Trained nurses and medical students will also be on hand to answer health questions, check cholesterol and iron levels.

Information will be available in several languages.

Doutta Galla staff will also be present to provide information on Vitamin D, heat stress and dental health. A women's health information session is at 120 Racecourse Road, Flemington from 1pm - 4pm today.

A men's health session is at the same venue tomorrow from 1pm - 3pm.

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