Loneliness- a Growing Problem Amongst Aussie Seniors
According to the Australian Bureau of statistics, Aussies over 65 are increasingly likely to live alone.
12% of the over 65s spend no time with others during their days and a further 5% spend half an hour or less with no contact with others. These figures paint a very dismal picture of how lonely some elderly may be.
This lack of meaningful contact with others in old age can be due to loss of mobility, lack of transport or living away from family.
Isolation can have severe consequences for the elderly, a UCSF study found that elderly people that reported feeling lonely and isolated had a 45% increase in the risk of death and 59% increase in the risk of mental and physical decline in comparison to social counterparts.
Although it is challenging, social isolation can be prevented.
Top Tips for Seniors to Combat Loneliness
Technology can sometimes seem daunting and out of your league, but it can be very useful in connecting with family and friends. You can have conversations with family and friends you might not be able to see regularly, watch your grandchild’s achievements online, find new recipes, read the news or even listen to your favourite music. Technology can also give you an opportunity to connect with the younger members of your family, letting them teach you and create a meaningful bond.
Virtual senior centres are online places, where you can connect with people not nearby but instead alike to you to talk about common interests. With the ability to video chat through virtual senior centres or just communicate through Facebook groups.
Local senior programs are available through many organisations to fit many different types of seniors. When looking for a program, you can reach out to your local community groups such as STAR community services, senior centres, local aged care organisations, etc. These programs can help connect with others in a face-to-face environment and spend meaningful time communicating with others. If you are looking for somewhere to start, STAR offers seniors lunch club and seniors fitness group.
Transportation. Being unable to travel may mean that you are without the means to be social. STAR offers government subsidised transport for the elderly. Public transport is also an option depending on where you live and your current physical state, and although it can seem overwhelming it is often a good alternative to being isolated to your home.
Volunteering in your local community can be beneficial for you to combat loneliness as you will be able to create bonds with others in your community and connect with people while you contribute to your community. Check out volunteering opportunities with STAR.
Adopting a pet can often fill a place in your home that you felt; with many animals being without homes, they can give you the love and connection to combat loneliness.
The Carers and Loved ones can play a huge part in helping to combat loneliness for the elderly. Through listening and observing to them, simply taking them out for a walk, sharing a hobby like gardening or photography- may help bridge the gap between generations and make our seniors most of their retirement years.
Find out more about STAR Companionship Service for Seniors. Simply call us on 3821 6699.