A workshop titled ‘Healthy Ageing’ was held on 2 April 2017 between 9.30 am and 12 noon at the Senior Citizen’s Centre in Turner in Canberra, ACT. The workshop conducted by a team of health professionals provided valuable information concerning health-related issues facing people as they move into the senior years. It is proposed to conduct similar workshops in other locations in the future.

‘Every one should act up to the motto: Help ever; hurt never. Every educated person should engage himself or herself in selfless service to society, with humility and a pure heart..

‘The wealth one possesses, the scientific skill one acquires, and the medical knowledge one obtains, are all secured from society. Since man has gained his wealth, knowledge and expertise from society, he has to discharge his debt to society by doing some good in return to it.

This was the second workshop to be held under the ‘Healthy Ageing’ series by Canberra doctors in partnership with the Sai Medical Unit. The first workshop was one held on 2 April 2016. Its aim was to assist Australian General Practitioners (GPs) and nurses to provide the best possible care for patients. Twenty-eight doctors and nurses from Canberra, Sydney and Bundaberg, Queensland attended. All GPs attending the workshop were able to claim credit towards the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ (RACGP) internationally recognised Quality Improvement and Continuing Professional Development Program as the workshop was accredited by RACGP.

The second workshop was aimed at people who were either over 55 years or were carers of the elderly. The aims of the workshop were:

  • Preparing those in the age group and carers with information required to understand and effectively handle age-related health issues
  • Explaining how medical professionals from the various fields, nurses and allied professions can meet the variety of needs of elderly patients with love and compassion.
  • ‘Healthy ageing’ is about enhancing opportunities for good health so that older people can actively participate in society and enjoy independent, high quality lives. These workshops are the first of their kind to be held by the Sathya Sai International Organisation of Australia & PNG (SSIO). The motivation behind them is a desire to serve the community. The SSIO wishes to use the expertise of its members and collaborate with others outside the organisation in providing needful information services to the community.

    The workshop had 106 participants, the majority of whom were from the general community with about 15 – 20 being members of the SSIO. Each participant was provided with materials that supported the topics covered by the workshop.

    A team of 10 health professionals from the SSIO and professionals outside the organisation, included Geriatricians, a Medical Oncologist, a Neurosurgeon, a Gastroenterologist, Dental Surgeons, a Dietician, an Optometrist, and an Occupational Therapist. Presentations on the following topics were covered:

  • Positive Ageing and the Brain and Mind.
  • Dental care.
  • Vision.
  • Lifestyle modification.
  • Gut issues.
  • Common cancers.
  • Osteoporosis and nutrition.
  • Meditation and relaxation.

  • In addition, a Clinical Project Manager from a local hospital delivered a talk on Advanced Care Plan Directives (Respecting patient’s choices).

    The topics were divided into six sets and covered by presenters at a table for each set. Participants in groups of 12 moved progressively from table to table until all six presentations had been completed. The final two sessions, ‘Meditation – It is never too late’ and ‘Advance Care Plan Directives,’ were delivered to all participants as one group.

    The day’s proceedings began with acknowledging the Ngunnawal people as the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we met. During the proceedings, a light meal was made available to participants. The workshop concluded with entertainment including dance recitals by dancers from the Apsara Dance School and spiritual songs by the Sai Young Adults of the ACT Region.

    Dr Prema Rajendra, the ACT Regional President of the SSIO, thanked all the participants, presenting professionals, and all the other volunteers who provided logistical support, catering and entertainment. The workshop would not have been possible without contributions from volunteering professionals and 15 SSIO members from the Sai Young Adults, Ladies and Service Wings..

    The workshop received positive feedback from many of the participants. One gentleman commented that the workshop was very informative and praised the organisational and seamless coordination of the day’s event by the volunteers. Similarly, many others also expressed their appreciation, saying they valued the quality and relevance of the information, and the expertise of the presenters. The SSIO was asked for more workshops of this kind. In addition, one of the professionals from outside the SSIO provided a very comprehensive positive assessment of the workshop and also encouraged us to hold more workshops of a similar nature, for which she would gladly participate in.

    It is now proposed to hold this workshop in a number of centres elsewhere in Australia through the cooperation of the respective SSIO Regional Officers and the Sai Medical Team.