Senior community reflects and learns together

The crowd gained some valuable knowledge from poetry to lived experiences at the expo. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Tanya Steele

A poem reflecting on the process of ageing gave a poignant highlight to a recent expo held by Cardinia Shire.

The Cardinia Shire’s Ageing Well Expo was recently held at the Cardinia Cultural Centre in Pakenham on 8 May and was received well by attendees.

Pat Buoncristiani from Emerald U3A addressed the audience on the day, sharing a poem entitled ‘I felt it deeply: a reflection on ageing’ (Author unknown).

Ms Buoncristiani said reading the poem was quite powerful and got some visible reactions in the crowd.

“A few people came up afterwards and said it was very moving,” she said.

“A lot of the audience was older and as a generation, I think we are getting a bit tired of being called ‘boomers’ and seen as irrelevant.”

Ms Buoncrsitini said that to her the poem was about saying to another look at this generation you’ve dismissed.

“Maybe start thinking about the elderly as having a bit of wisdom, they’re a demographic that has a lot to offer,” she said.

Celebrating healthy ageing and building community connections, the free event brought together residents aged 55+ years from the Cardinia Shire community to empower them in improving and maintaining their well-being.

Cardinia Shire Deputy Mayor Councillor Graeme Moore delivered a welcome speech and said it was a wonderful turnout.

“It had a great lineup of activities and speakers that inspired while delivering information about local services and programs available to support our senior community members,” Deputy Mayor Moore said.

“I enjoyed connecting with everyone there, and finding out more about what services and programs are available within our community as we approach and enjoy our golden years,” he said.

Mayor Cr Jack Kowarzik who also attended the event said the the event explored why it’s beneficial for our health to have strong social connections.

“How we can nurture our emotional and physical wellbeing by getting involved in activities that interest us, and different ways to take care of our mind and body as we age,” he said.

Event highlights included two special guest speakers, a panel Q&A discussion, a range of stallholders exhibiting their local services and programs, a light lunch, and a digital artist who captured the day’s moments, creating art in real-time.

During the panel discussion, five residents shared their lived experiences of ageing with moving, relatable, and humorous anecdotes. Their stories resonated with the audience, fostering a sense of connection and understanding.

Exhibits from numerous service providers and ageing well programs highlighted opportunities for connectivity, active living, and informed decision-making; empowering seniors to make educated choices about their well-being.

Ms Buoncrsitini said the seminar was well worthwhile and that the room was filled with active volunteers.

“They were all people who were involved in doing something for the ageing population,” she said.

“It’s reassuring to see the people there and to know that this generation is worth something and worth respect.”

Ms Buoncrsitini said the forum gave some good information and she hopes the seminar is held annually.

“A doctor spoke with us about the risks of falling – I found that pretty useful,” she said.

“Being careful with these things can ensure you remain independent as long as possible.”

Senior community members can stay up-to-date on all things Ageing Well in Cardinia by checking out Cardinia Shire’s quarterly Ageing Well Newsletter, accessing the resources available on the Council’s website at, and visiting the ‘Cardinia Support’ website; a valuable resource accessible on mobile devices and available in several languages, connecting community members to over 250 local support services.