Christine’s got the Great Southern covered

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Christine spreads Advocare cheer across the Great Southern, advocating for older people’s rights. With a farming background, she deeply understands and supports local needs, balancing advocacy with volunteer paramedic duties.

As our Advocate in the Great Southern for the last three years, Christine Zambonetti has been covering plenty of ground in her patch. Her most recent trip included the towns of Tambellup, Gnowangerup, Pingrup, Lake Grace, Bremer Bay, Ravensthorpe, Hopetoun, Jerramungup, Ongerup and Wellstead.

The people Christine met along the way were incredibly friendly and welcoming – just what she expected of Great Southern hospitality. The region’s breathtaking beauty was a constant companion, though capturing it all in photos was a bit of a challenge while travelling solo. Nevertheless, she enjoyed every moment, conducting Advocare information sessions, meet and greets, and ambassador visits.

Christine on tour around the Great Southern

How does Christine prioritise her visits?

The Great Southern is vast, and prioritising where to go can be tricky. She started her journey in Albany and gradually extended her reach as she became more familiar with her role. Last year, Christine kicked off her outreach program with gusto, and this year, she’s focusing on the eastern parts of the Great Southern region, aiming to build relationships in areas often overlooked. She often finds smaller towns struggle with a chronic lack of access to aged care services, and she firmly believes everyone deserves equal access to care, wherever they live. In true Advocare style, her mission is to ensure these older residents’ voices are heard.

What does Christine love about the Great Southern?

“The people, hands down! Everyone is so down to earth and welcoming. Having a farming background myself and living in the Great Southern for 34 years, I understand the unique needs of rural areas. When I chat with the locals, I genuinely understand their concerns and what matters most to them – especially when it comes to talking about rainfall!

“I am passionate about standing up for older people’s rights and particularly focused on the needs of people in marginalised groups such as people with dementia. I’ve been working at Advocare for almost three years now. I also have three rescue dogs and four sons. For the last two years I’ve been a volunteer paramedic as well which has brought me into contact with older people in my community in a valuable but different way.”

Christine’s philosophy

“One thing I live by is that you must always keep your sense of humour. You can always find the funny side of things and I spend a large portion of my day laughing with others. It has gotten me through the hard times in life. My favourite quote is, ‘To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.’

Issues for older people in the region

The biggest issue by far is the lack of services in remote areas. The impact of COVID-19 has exacerbated staffing issues for service providers, leading to some having to pull out of service delivery in the Great Southern. “It’s heartbreaking to hear that older people often have to leave their hometowns and farms due to this. Slowly but surely, more coverage is happening, but it’s still a struggle to connect older folks with the services they need,” Christine reflects.

Regardless, Christine’s still dedicated to getting word out in the region that our rights don’t diminish with age. Despite being the only outreach advocate in the region, she loves visiting as many places as possible and talking to people, thanks to her boundless energy, as all our team can testify.

Christine can be contacted by calling the Advocare office on 1800 655 566 and asking for her or emailing Advocare also has an office at Lotteries House, 217 North Road, Albany however, as you might guess from her enthusiastic visiting schedule, making an appointment to stop by is always preferred.

Outreach visits and information sessions can be provided to towns in the Great Southern on request. She also regularly visits:

  • Kojonup: 1st week of each month
  • Denmark: 2nd week of each month
  • Mt Barker: 3rd week of each month
  • Katanning: 4th week of each month.

Christine looks forward to continuing her journey in the place she loves to live to make a difference to the lives of local older people throughout the Great Southern. In the words of another quote she’s a fan of, “Any kind gesture that pulls another out of despair is indistinguishable from magic.”