When speaking with support workers in the Eastern Metropolitan Region I have found one issue is consistently brought up, the mental health of our senior population.
Our support workers at the coal face are finding it incredibly difficult to get seniors back out and about and engaging with the community.
Since the onset of COVID-19, we have seen a new light shone on mental health. Many have struggled because of lockdowns, financial struggles and pandemic anxiety.
Unfortunately, the resources provided to address these issues have failed to account for the tailored support required by our senior population.
Support workers are seeing worrying trends of isolation, anxiety and depression among seniors in their community.
There needs to be greater outreach tailored at supporting seniors in embracing our COVID-normal.
“When the health and wellbeing of our elderly population declines, this places pressure on younger generations and affects the entire community. We must do better.”
Social prescribing is an idea that has taken off in the United Kingdom.
The concept of a social prescription is based on the idea that doctors and allied health practitioners can assess an individual as experiencing social isolation and loneliness and then refer the individual to local community resources where they can connect with others. This means a doctor could refer patients to anything from health and fitness activities to movie clubs and meditation.
By social prescribing we can shift the focus to prevention and early intervention.
If we have a system in place to get these individuals to support resources that already exist in the community and are already funded by the government, we can help many gain the confidence to re-engage with the community.