When it comes to mental wellness and wellbeing, connecting and engaging with others is one of the most important things we can do.
As we get older, our social connections change.
We may lose friends and life partners, or be less physically able to attend activities in person.
Some individuals choose to remove themselves from situations where they engage with others.
There are many reasons someone might do this – it could be as simple not wanting to feel like a burden.
But the problem is it’s not healthy.
Retirement villages are normally great locations to facilitate the kind of social engagement we as individuals need to drive positive health and wellness outcomes.
But what about our residents who have become isolated and less connected?
What can we do, in our roles as village professionals?
It’s an important thing to be mindful of, especially amid the onset of COVID-19 which has increased the risk of older people feeling more isolated and less connected.
Facilitating positive change in your village
This is why we want to draw your attention to Connected AU, recommended by Gerard Mansour, Commissioner for Senior Victorians, in a recent LinkedIn article.
Connected AU has two key offerings, that can be great for residents:
- The Letterbox Project – handwritten letters are sent from volunteers around the country to people experiencing isolation and loneliness.
- Virtual Hobby Groups – Providing connection and engagement to people anywhere.
It’s relatively easy to set up, but it can drive serious positive outcomes in your village.
Just think of a resident who could benefit and then check out the Connected AU website here.
The easy of helping your resident will just fall into place.
A little bit of effort goes a long, long way
In our experience, when a resident is feeling lonely it’s the little things that count.
Something as simple as stopping to say hello when you see them in the village can really make their day. We’ve also seen great success with Facebook pages and messenger groups set up to engage residents on the tech-savvy side of things.
Here are a few extra ideas you might want to look into:
- Be Connected – offers simple guides for older people to learn about technology and online safety. Learn more here.
- Community Visitor Scheme – residents may be eligible to access the CVS who arrange volunteer visits to older people.
- Local Government – contact them for information about clubs, activities and community events in your region.