FOR MANY Australians, retirement is a reward for decades of daily grind.
It's a time to relax, and explore the opportunities to fulfil their life goals.
But some seniors feel constrained by declining health, finances, and very often, lack of support services to help them live independently.
When Robyn Bree, a 74-year-old resident of Victoria Point, lost her beloved husband last year to Parkinson's disease, she sought out to occupy her mind.
She was overjoyed when she heard about a course in Legal Studies run by the University of the Third Age at Cleveland Library.
"Several years ago, I enrolled at Griffith University's Law Program as a blind student. I was awarded a distinction, but could not continue as I had to care for my husband."
She enthusiastically enrolled in the U3A course but found a stumbling block.
"I can no longer read normal print without electronic magnifiers or talking computer programmes. When information is projected onto a screen or written on a white board, it's indecipherable for me."
"When Robyn mentioned to me that she was finding it hard to keep up with her study, I knew we had to find a way to assist her.
"She was very keen to fulfil her goal for further study and we wanted to offer her all the support we could," said STAR Care Coordinator Colleen Johnston.
"STAR came to my aid. They found me a voluntary reader-writer who accompanies me to my weekly Legal Studies program.
"Now, I can keep up with my fellow members, participate in discussions and confidently find new friendships."
"We are so proud to enable Robyn and many other seniors of our community, maintain physical and emotional wellbeing and live life to the fullest," said Patsy Wilshire, General Manager of STAR.
"Our Care Services are completely focussed on supporting our elderly to maintain an independent and comfortable lifestyle, whether by simply helping them with their weekly shopping, or as in Robyn's case, thinking out of the box and finding a unique solutions to her care needs."
"Here I am today, sane, mentally and physically healthy, learning successfully through the University of the Third Age. All this is thanks to the staff and volunteers at STAR Community Servicers, " added Robyn.
"Robyn is an inspiring individual, proving that the elderly can make a huge contribution to our society, with the right kind of support," Ms Wilshire added.
STAR Community Services is Redlands leading not-for-profit organisation, helping Redlands seniors live a healthier, independent life, since 1996.
Thanks to the support of more than 100 volunteers, STAR provides transport and care services to more than 6000 Redlands residents.
For more information on our Care services including Companionship, Personal Care, In Home Care, Home Care Packages and more please call STAR on 07 3821 6699 or visit www.starcommunityservices.com.au
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