Social inclusion

Loneliness is bad for your health

By Chief Advocate Ian Henschke

In my role as Chief Advocate, I’m often asked to comment on social issues.

I recently had a call from Sky News’ Ashleigh Gillon. She wanted me to go to their TV studio and talk about a recent newspaper report that said 60 per cent of Australians experience loneliness. It also said the number of friends people have has halved since 2005. 

Funding to help combat loneliness

The Federal Government is seeking the assistance of local organisations across the country to help combat loneliness and social isolation.

Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said $46.1 million in new funding to the national Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) would support local organisations recruit volunteers to provide vital friendship and companionship through regular visits to older people receiving Commonwealth-subsidised aged care services.

Move - for your heart’s sake

New research has shown nearly one in five Australian seniors believe they are too old for physical activity – but they were more likely to exercise if they had someone to do it with.

Marking Heart Week (29 April to 6 May 2018), a survey by the Heart Foundation revealed that seniors were less likely than younger Australians to be excited about getting active (29 per cent of seniors compared to 38 per cent of younger Australians).

But people of all ages were nearly twice as likely to be excited about getting active if they had someone to be active with.

Polio survivor on a mission to raise awareness of late effects

When Queenslander Eric Rushton started experiencing fatigue, muscle weakness and difficulty swallowing, he chalked it up to part of the ageing process.

Despite his doctor reaching the same conclusion, Mr Rushton decided to investigate further as his condition continued to worsen.

After a visit to a rehabilitation specialist, he discovered he was experiencing returning symptoms of polio, a disease he was diagnosed with when he was just two years old.

Poor hearing health can lead to social isolation

Australians are being urged to stop ‘putting it off’ and have their hearing checked.

Marking Hearing Awareness Week (25 February to 3 March), the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) said one in six Australians had some form of hearing loss.

RIDBC’s Chris Rehn saidan estimated116,000 Australians aged 45 and over were at risk of severe to profound hearing loss but only three per cent would receive treatment.

This year, Hearing Awareness Week coincided with International Cochlear Implant Day last Sunday and World Hearing Day on Saturday 3 March.

250 people develop dementia daily

New figures show more than 425,000 Australians are living with dementia, with an estimated 250 people developing the disease each day.

Dementia Australia’s Maree McCabe said while there was no cure for dementia, the right support, information and help could make a life-changing difference to people living with the condition.

“There is a perception in the community that nothing can be done following a diagnosis of dementia,” Ms McCabe said.

Christmas doesn't have to be the season to feel lonely

A new survey has found that a quarter of Australians are lonely some or most of the time, with men over the age of 55 one of the groups most likely to feel the impact of loneliness.

The Australian Red Cross survey also showed that the main reason for older men feeling lonely was divorce or separation.

Women aged over 55 were much more likely to chat to a friend or family member to help counteract loneliness.

Deaf can watch ABC News in Auslan

Deaf Australians can watch the primetime news in Auslan for the first time during the National Week of Deaf People (22-28 October).

Today, the ABC News channel's 6pm (AEDT) bulletin will be interpreted live in Auslan - Australian Sign Language - the national language of the Australian deaf community.

Brent Phillips, from Victorian deaf and hard of hearing advocacy group Vicdeaf, said the ABC broadcast of the news in Auslan would allow thousands of deaf Australians to understand the news in their first language.

Have a chat with seniors' commissioner

Older Victorians are being invited to attend a series of ‘conversations’ with the Commissioner for Senior Victorians, Gerard Mansour.

The free events will be held in Sunshine, Hamilton, Bendigo, Moonee Ponds, Wangaratta and Dandenong during October and November.

Topics to be discussed include Planning for your future, Staying connected – social and community participation, and Your voice – what’s on your mind?

Mr Mansour is a highly respected and passionate advocate for the needs of older people.

Featured Article