Research on loneliness paints a confronting picture:
With many Australians being more time poor than ever before, fewer people know, and interact with, their neighbours and are members of community groups.
Community living has the unique benefit of having activities that encourage neighbours to interact and get to know each other. These include:
1. Staff who can facilitate introductions to residents who may share common interests.
2. Shared mealtimes that provide an opportunity to get to know your neighbours.
3. Common spaces where you can connect to passers-by and engage in conversation or just exchange greetings.
4. Walking paths can encourage walking groups and staying active together.
5. Organised groups and activities to allow you to interact with others with a common hobby.
6. Morning teas and happy hours provide a space to congregate and have a chat.
7. Always having neighbours close by who can help you out when needed.
8. 24/7 call buttons to access onsite staff if you have a fall or a health emergency.
7. Skill sharing between residents. Other residents may be able to help you learn a new skill or help you out with things you might be having difficulty with – for instance technology help.
8. Regular social group outings for company and discovering new places.
9. Community buses to help you get out and about in the wider community.
While living in close proximity is not always a guarantee of good community connections, the added lifestyle and care options available at aged care communities aim to foster connections between residents and enable them to make lifelong friends, feel a part of social groups and maintain their own autonomy.