Social isolation can manifest as morbidity and mortality. Worldwide, the phenomenon of delayed discovery of deaths in older people has been reported in the United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia. Older people living in rural and regional areas may face increased isolation, with different challenges to participating socially compared with those in capital cities. This project aimed to identify the facilitators and barriers that older people face in beginning and maintaining social connections with their family, friends and local community. 150 participants aged above 50 years were recruited from Orange and Griffith, NSW. This project used an initial survey to seek demographic information, psychosocial behaviour, personal wellbeing and preferred social activities. Additionally, the survey identified the facilitators and barriers to accessing social activities. Using this information, the Linker (a personnel and researcher dedicated to promoting social inclusion in these participants) addressed these barriers systematically. Six months after the initial survey, a feedback survey was administered to assess personal wellbeing and elicit further facilitators and barriers to social participation. The relationship between the Linker and the participant is maintained for up to 18 months, with the feedback survey administered every six months. The barriers that older persons face in maintaining social connections are unique and complex. Thus a multi-prong approach was necessary to address social isolation, with strategies occurring over a broad spectrum and with varying degrees of success. In addition to the quantitative data derived from the survey, this presentation will discuss the strategies used for facilitating inclusion – from providing referrals to myagedcare to organising walking groups with support from the Heart Foundation, and from creating opportunities for seniors learning about technology to advocating for fair telecommunications services.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event49th Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) Conference - National Convention Centre, Canberra, Australia
Duration: 02 Nov 201604 Nov 2016
https://www.aag.asn.au/national-conference/2016-conference-program-abstracts-and-presentations (Conference resources)


Conference49th Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) Conference
Abbreviated titleCapitalising on the Ageing Dividend: Re-imagining Our Future
Internet address


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