Celebrating the 2024 NSW Seniors Festival

Social Connection Helping LiveBetter Customers to ‘Reach Beyond'.
12th March 2024

The 2024 NSW Seniors Festival, which runs from March 11 to March 24, is now in full swing. The festival celebrates the role of older Australians in our society, and this year’s theme, ‘Reach Beyond’ speaks to the way today’s seniors defy many preconceptions around ageing, and remain active community members well into their 80’s, and 90’s.

Fundamental to thriving as you age is connection – and staying connected to your community, engaging with, and contributing to the world around you, is critical to maintaining health and well-being.

As the saying goes, “Use it or Lose it!”.

We recently caught up with two Albury-based seniors, Iris Jarvis, and Diane Darcy who became firm friends after meeting at LiveBetter’s Tuesday Craft Group. Both are active, engaged and remarkably upbeat despite the challenges ageing can bring.

We wanted to know more about them, and what it is that motivates them to ‘reach beyond’  each and every day.


Originally from Sydney, Diane, who turns 80 later this year, moved to Albury in 2017. Her love of all things crafty is what keeps her thriving in her senior years.

“I have a weekly craft stall where I sell my handicrafts – cardigans, jumpers booties, Barbie doll and baby doll clothes and baby blankets. And then in winter, I sell beanies too.”

Diane’s daughter has lived in Albury for 20 years and convinced Diane and her husband to move from Sydney seven years ago.

“Our health wasn’t great, and she worried that it was a long drive to Sydney if anything happened.”

Having attended a seniors social group in Sydney, Diane recognised the value such groups offered and was keen to join something similar in Albury. She tried a few different groups, with mixed results, before deciding to give LiveBetter Albury’s Senior Social Groups a go.

“When I walked in, I saw Iris, and asked her ‘What’s it like here?’. She said it was just great – and it was. It was so welcoming.”

In 2020, Diane’s husband died after a short battle with cancer.

“The social groups have been marvellous since John died. It’s been a place where you can get support, talk to people, and express how you’re feeling.”

Diane believes the social groups help keep her both active and engaged. Each Tuesday, she shares her extensive craft knowledge with the other group members, teaching them to knit, crochet, embroider, and even make stuffed toys.

“I’d encourage anybody to come along. It’s a great place just to sit. Even if you don’t talk to anybody, just sit, and listen to what’s going on.”


At 91 years young, Iris lives alone on her farm that has been home for 69 years. The farm, which is 30 kilometres out of Albury,  is where she can often be found weeding the garden and mowing the lawns. For Iris, hard work, and staying active are the key to staying young.

Nine years ago, Iris lost her husband in a farming accident, leaving her to manage the farm alone.

“I saw it all happen. It was just horrendous. But I struggled along.”

Iris was doing it tough, feeling lonely and isolated, when she heard about LiveBetter Albury’s Seniors Social Groups. That was nine years ago, and she hasn’t looked back.

It’s lovely coming along and meeting people. Just talking and listening to what’s going on in the world. I’ve really enjoyed it. I would come in here and it would be a real boost to my morale.”

With a property to look after, Iris has less time on her hands than her friend Diane, but she still wouldn’t miss Tuesday’s craft group.

“It’s just lovely to be there and know that you’ve got friends around you. And everybody that I’ve met in that room has just been so nice.”

As we age, our routine and lifestyle change, and we can find ourselves becoming increasingly lonely and isolated – unless, like Diane and Iris, we actively seek connection. So, why not use this year’s Seniors Festival as an opportunity to investigate what’s going on in your community? Share your hard-earned wisdom with others. Always be curious, keep on learning, and stay strong.

In short, ‘reach beyond’ and thrive.

To learn more about LiveBetter Albury’s social Groups and activities call 1800 580 580

To learn more about the 2024 NSW Seniors Festival visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/arts-and-culture/seniors-festival or contact your local council.

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