A new six-part podcast series aims to help older people find their zest for life and improve wellbeing.
Voices on Ageing, produced by COTA (Council on the Ageing) SA, features interviews with over-50s about how they empowered themselves to reconnect with life and their community and what contributed to their success.
Among the interviewees is 72-year-old Margaret from Belair, who embraced "pumping iron" to help her overcome shock, fear and a period of depression after an unexpected medical diagnosis.
"I had a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment ... and I was very motivated to stave it off," she said.
"When I learned that physical exercise is one of the main game-changers for cognition, I started taking COTA's Strength for Life classes a little more seriously."
But beyond the physical exercise, the social element of classes is beneficial for brain health.
"I once said to one of the instructors, 'Perhaps we should be chatting less and exercising more', but he said it's also for the social benefit."
Margaret said if she didn't take the class she wouldn't be doing the exercise by herself at home. "This really works for me."
And she has noticed a change in her mind.
"I have fewer times when I put the salt in the fridge, fewer times when I forget someone's name. I can feel the difference and my friends and family can tell the difference.
"I say I lost some of my marbles but I found them again at the gym!"
COTA SA chief executive Jane Mussared said the podcast will inspire and empower people to make changes in their lives.
"We have met wonderful people whose lives have altered or faltered after experiencing some of life's challenges, but the podcast shares how they found their mojo, reconnected with others, and got back into life after a period of loneliness or social isolation," she said.
"With our support, all the podcast interviewees took steps to reconnect with others and revitalise their activities and will share with listeners how they can do the same."
The six episodes are:
My Journey with Memory Loss - Margaret bravely shares her experience of memory loss. For her, connecting with COTA volunteer Lai Woon was a major turning point, helping her pull herself "up out of her chair" after the anxiety she was feeling as her memory became less reliable.
The Power of a Chat - Colin shares his experience of moving into an independent unit in a retirement village. He explains his move helped increase his social activities and connections. Through the support of Meals on Wheels, COTA SA and his local council, he continues to seek ways to maintain his independence.
Finding Purpose in Retirement - Sandra shares her story of seeking purpose. After relocating from interstate and retiring, Sandra felt isolated and without a strong sense of local community connections. Becoming a COTA SA Volunteer and accessing support services through Social Connections is helping Sandra to bridge her feelings of loneliness.
Reconnecting After Loss - Barbara talks about how she overcame her feelings of isolation after the death of her husband. With the support of peer volunteer Marjorie, Barbara rebuilt her confidence to attend social activities as a single person. This renewed confidence has enabled her to reconnect with her passion to travel - something she didn't think she'd do again.
The Spark I Needed - Bryan shares honest insights into his mental health challenges. After a series of health challenges and the loss of friends, Bryan was feeling very low. A brochure for COTA Social Connections at his local library provided the turning point. Support from his peer volunteer Lizzie has helped him re-engage with activities and new social groups.
Staying Connected at Home - Bonnie shares personal insight into how she navigates life as an older person with physical mobility limitations. Bonnie has overcome many personal challenges and draws from this resilience and her wonderful sense of humour to keep positive. Accessing COTA Visitors has helped her stay connected from her home.
Each interviewee was a Social Connections participant, a COTA SA program developed in response to the disruption of COVID-19, to help older people connect with social activities and services that match their interests and needs.
The series was recorded in partnership with Adelaide Primary Health Network. Each episode runs for about 20 minutes.
Voices on Ageing can be streamed via Spotify, and Google and Apple Podcasts, or online HERE