Aside from challenges accessing health and medical services, seniors living in regional Australia also face barriers when accessing social and community organisations. Social isolation may give rise to feelings of anxiety and depression, a real concern as 19% of Australians aged 60–74 years live alone. The risk of mortality from loneliness is comparable to that of smoking and the number of delayed discoveries of senior’s deaths in NSW averages seven a month.

A new initiative by regionally-based community service organisation, CareWest, is set to bring together seniors in our community to help combat the negative impact of isolation brought on by limited access to support services. The Social and Community Links service will be trialled by CareWest’s Research and Evaluation Unit.

According to Dr Gregory Dresser, Senior Manager, Research and Evaluation at CareWest, the organisation will work closely with older individuals on a one-to-one basis in order to assess their needs before recommending assistance in their accessing suitable social and community networks.

“Access to specific information may be all that is stopping an older resident from participating in an activity. Our staff at CareWest aim to eradicate these barriers in order to help seniors feel more inclusive in the Orange community,” he said.

Aside from reaching out to individuals, this initiative will also extend to community organisations looking to make their services more accessible to older Australians.

CareWest is calling on individuals or organisations to participate in this initiative. To find out more about becoming a participant, call 1300 CAREWEST (1300 227 393).