The Facts We Can't Ignore
Why our community needs Charlie's Gift
Social isolation and loneliness impacts the wellbeing and health outcomes for our aged.
Even before COVID19 there was a profound correlation between social isolation and the negative impact to the health and wellbeing for our older community.
Human beings at any age are social creatures and it is the connection to others, which enable us to survive and thrive. Social connection, together with participation in meaningful activities and leisure pursuits, gives us purpose, self-value and strengthens our resilience to accept and adapt to change.
A research paper published by the National Institute on Aging (April 23 2019), reported that many of the following chronic health conditions are intensified or are a direct result of social isolation and chronic loneliness:
- Increased falls
- Cognitive decline
- Heart Disease
- Weakened immune systems
- General dissatisfaction with life
That losing a sense of connection and community changes a person’s perception of the world.
Loneliness acts as a fertiliser for other diseases… The biology of loneliness can accelerate the build-up of plaque in arteries, help cancer cells grow and spread, promote inflammation in the brain that leads to Alzheimer’s disease and promotes several different types of wear and tear on the body. (Social Isolation, Loneliness in Older People Pose a Health Risk, National Institute of Aging)
The highest percentage of people experiencing loneliness in Australia falls into the category of 75 to 80 years and older.
By 2050 around one quarter of all Australians will be aged 65 years or older. 1.8 million will be 85 years and over.
This equates to approximately 2.7 people of working age for every person over 65. This will mean less income tax paid to cover the increased costs needed for public health and aged care and less people in the workforce to provide the services needed.
Our government has changed from a social welfare policy model to a ‘consumer directed care’ policy model to address ageing and aged care.
This means that the government considers ageing and aged care outcomes to be the responsibility of the aged individual or those that care for them.
Despite the majority of older adults wishing to remain in their own homes and communities, many will be admitted into residential care at some point because of insufficient support and services to help them remain at home.
Sadly, not all our aged are eligible for government subsidies for home care services. Those who are approved for Home Care Services may be placed on lengthy waiting lists before services are received.
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Further Information Based on Research and Resources
The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, University of Canberra, stated; “The Government has put their three pillar retirement income policy in place too late to provide an adequate income in retirement for the large baby boomer group of Australians”. What is the purpose of this income policy? “to encourage self-provision in retirement and reduce the future cost of public (unfunded) pension schemes”.
Research from the National Seniors Australia and Group Homes Australia stated in their summary “Worryingly, two in three people aged over fifty intend to remain in their current home as they age, yet only one in three (38%) have plans in place to prepare for getting older and becoming frailer”.