Social connection is innate to being human, regardless of our culture, type of personality, socio-economic background, interests, strengths, and challenges in life. The COVID-19 pandemic has really shone a light on why social connection is vital to how we function in daily life, and the creative alternative ways in which we can connect. Now, more than ever, resilience, support and connection are important to keeping ourselves and grounded as we adapt to the new normal of the pandemic. With Queensland Mental Health Week around the corner it is also important to take time for our mental health and wellbeing.
Why connection matters for staying healthy
Good health adds life to years.
Social connection is important for mental and physical health, and links to our sense of self, group identities, sense of purpose, and quality of life. How we experience and view the world, and how we were raised within our family, or our culture can shape our understanding and perception of being and connecting in the world.
What the evidence tell us
- 1 in 4 Australians, aged 12 – 89 years, experience ‘problematic’ loneliness (approximately 5 million people).
- Some research indicates that Australians over 65 years are often less lonely than younger people, and experience less depression, social anxiety, and are more engaged socially.
- A recent survey by the Federation of nine Councils on the Ageing (COTA) across Australia suggests that of 22% of Queenslanders aged 50 years and over were not content with their friendships and relationships, 5% hadn’t had contact with anyone in a week, and 8% felt lonely all or most of the time.
- The same survey indicates that older Queenslanders find support for their wellbeing (and mental health) through family and friends, exercising, good nutrition, hobbies, connecting with nature and through staying connected with digital technology.
Connecting with friends, family, acquaintances, and even one-off or semi-regular casual interactions, can assist in preventing or alleviating social isolation and the feeling of loneliness.
Just like the diversity in our own communities, there are many creative and innovative ways to get connecting face-to-face, online, and offline. That's what makes Seniors Month the perfect avenue to connect and try something new.
Connect with us this Seniors Month. We have a range of inpatient and day therapy treatment options that can assist you with your mental health and improve your wellbeing.
Visit our specialties page to learn more about older persons mental health.