Understanding older Australians isolation and loneliness

With increasing numbers of older people receiving care in the home, there is a growing need to understand and address social isolation and loneliness which could be an unintended consequence of this growing area.

 

Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) has released an issues paper which considers the definition, the prevalence, the causes and the consequences of social isolation and loneliness and examines strategies for promoting social connection and inclusion.

 

As well as raising awareness of these issues, the paper aims to begin a conversation about policies and strategies that will promote social inclusion and community engagement of older people throughout Australia.

 

Adj Prof John G Kelly, ACSA CEO, said that while the ageing of Australia’s population is a testament to the success of good public health and social policy over a number of decades we can’t rest on our laurels and need to acknowledge and address a number challenges such as understanding and combating isolation and loneliness.

 

Prof Kelly noted that a broad range of policies, interventions and strategies are needed to reduce social isolation and loneliness.

 

ACSA has identified seven policy areas that could be pursued as priorities to reduce the frequency and severity of social isolation and loneliness among older Australians:

  1. Targeting older people with multiple risk factors

  2. Quality, rather than quantity, of relationships

  3. Active engagement

  4. Housing

  5. Age friendly communities and transport

  6. Technology and social media

  7. Meaningful activity.

The position paper is at this link: http://www.agedcare.org.au/publications/social-isolation-and-loneliness/view?searchterm=social.

 

Aged & Community Services Australia is the peak body for mission-based aged care providers.

 

20 October 2015.