While Christmas can be a time of family and social events for some, it can also be a lonely time for many others. However, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to feel alone this Christmas and New Year period.
We understand how the holiday season can be a difficult time for older people so we’ve put together a list of ways to stay connected and be involved with community.
- Volunteer with the Community Visitors Scheme visiting and creating meaningful friendships with older people that are living in a Residential Aged Care Home or their own home. Contact us on 08 8232 0422 or visit the COTA Visitors page on our website.
- Join a Strength for Life class for strength, balance and social connection.
- Connect with The Plug-in — you can be involved in surveys and focus groups and share your thoughts on a range of issues.
- Join us for our monthly Rainbow Hub lunch for LGBTI elders to enjoy good food, good company and good conversation.
- If you're located in Victor-Goolwa, get involved with our Fleurieu Neighbourhood Network for walking groups, talks, excursions and information about ageing well — there are plenty of opportunities to connect with your community and improve your overall well-being.
- Our Voices on Ageing Podcast has lots of great tips for how you can re-connect with your community and improve wellbeing. In one episode Colin talks about the power of conversation and the importance of having incidental conversations when we’re out and about.
- Call Friendline for a chat with an anonymous volunteer about anything you like. Friendline is open 10am-8pm 7 days, call 08 7078 6229 (free call 1800 424 287)
- Check out the new LiveUp website which focusses on helping people over 65 stay independent through healthy ageing.
- Join a local group or attend local activities. Find out what’s available or what events are on by visiting your local community centre, library, council office or the local shopping centre noticeboard, newsletters or in the local paper. This can include sports, fitness activities, art and craft lessons or groups, book clubs,
- Volunteer in your community — many organisations are looking for new volunteers in all sorts of different roles. Contact Volunteering SA NT to find out what’s available. There are more than 1,200 volunteering roles available on their website at present.
- Listen to the radio and phone talkback to take part in conversations.
- Chat to neighbours; work in your front garden at the same time as neighbours so it’s easier to say hello and start a conversation.
- If you can get out and about, visit a café or a park and start a conversation with someone. Walking your dog is also a great way to meet other dog lovers.
We should all look out for others in our community who might be struggling to navigate the holiday season with festivities going on around them and experiencing loneliness and isolation.
If you see an older person alone or you know one of your neighbours lives alone, be sure to check in with them, ask how they are, offer to share a meal or run an errand — you might just be the only person they speak to that day.
Other resources available to you or that can help you support others:
- The R U OK? website lists a range of ‘Tis the season to be asking R U OK?’ tips, ideas and downloadable resources.
- Download free 'Staying Connected' resources from R U OK?
- Download the free booklet from BeyondBlue, 'Connections matter: Helping older people stay socially active'.