Social isolation and loneliness is a dominant issue among our older population, including those living in aged care facilities. A review of the Australian research into the prevalence of loneliness among older Australians uncovered some concerning statistics.
An estimated 7% – 9% of older Australians experience ‘severe’ loneliness, but as many as one third experience loneliness at some point in old age. Another study found one in ten older veterans in Australia were socially isolated, and a further 12% were at risk of social isolation. As a result, quality of life is diminished significantly for our ageing population and more needs to be done to reverse this.
Cater Care recognise we have a significant role in improving the quality of life for residents in the facilities of which we operate. Our commitment is evident through our Supporting Positive Ageing initiative, driven by five guiding principles, one of which involves stakeholder engagement. A key activity in driving engagement, especially resident engagement, are the themed events that are regularly held across Cater Care sites.
Theme days are designed to offer residents a ‘break from routine’ with an opportunity to socialise, take part in exciting activities, as well as enjoy a special menu. Regular socialisation is exceedingly important in maintaining a quality of life as it enables residents to stay connected with each other and build meaningful relationships.
The Australian Psychology of Society has emphasised the importance of this, as social interaction and relationships with others are associated with positive ageing and feeling optimistic about life. Furthermore, maintaining social networks encourages contact with others, prevents isolation and positively promotes good mental health and physical activity. Our themed events create a relaxed, fun atmosphere with the use of music, props, and decorations for residents to get together, have fun and enjoy each other’s company.
Our Great Gatsby theme proved to be one of the most memorable events for our residents. They connected on a nostalgic level, and for many, it was the talking point days after the occasion. We have seen themes such as Great Gatsby, Rio de Janeiro, Happy Days and Greek Islands successfully improve resident engagement and socialisation. It encourages residents to actively participate in the festivities along with staff by dressing up, playing games and even dancing!
The impact themed events have on residents is significant and has demonstrated to be an important part of our Supporting Positive Ageing program. Theme days will continue to be a key part of Cater Care’s resident engagement with the aim of providing even more creative, fun and unique themes.
Read more about Cater Care’s other activities supporting positive ageing.