Change is part and parcel of getting older. The transition to retirement can be both exciting and stimulating, however many individuals find this shift overwhelming. It’s not uncommon for people to feel isolated or lonely while trying to adjust.
So what can we do to help? On September 14, there is one important question to ask family, friends, colleagues and neighbours – R U OK? Starting the conversation is the first step to helping someone to open up about things that may be troubling them.
Around one in three Australians reports that loneliness is a serious problem for them. Older Australians are usually at higher risk. Losing a spouse, moving to an aged care facility and loss of mobility are all risk factors of loneliness, and sometimes it can be difficult to reach out and ask for help.
Just Better Care Chief Operating Officer Alison Chandler is emphasising the importance of getting involved today, and every day.
“R U OK? Day is a much needed reminder to check in with our loved ones and let them know that they aren’t alone,” Ms Chandler said.
“Particularly in their later years, people struggle to reach out and ask for help, so it is important to touch base and see how they are coping.”
beyondblue estimates around 10 to 15 per cent of older people experience depression, and that number increases to 35 for those living in residential aged care. Loneliness can affect anyone so it is important to look out for risk factors and check in with the people to make sure they feel supported and cared for.
The R U OK? organisation emphasises that starting a conversation is the first step to feeling connected. Catching up for coffee or even simply sending a message to a loved one is an effective way of reaching out and letting them know that you care.
Just Better Care is committed to providing services that support the psychological health, as well as the physical wellbeing of our customers. For more information on mental health and how to start the conversation, visit www.ruok.org.au/