Social isolation and loneliness

Social isolation and loneliness amongst Victorian Seniors - Media Release April 2016

Social Isolation

The Andrews Labor Government today announced new initiatives to address loneliness and social isolation experienced by Victorian seniors and create more age-friendly communities. Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley today launched the Ageing is Everyone’s Business Report and signed the Age-Friendly Declaration with the Municipal Association of Victoria.

Ageing is Everyone’s Business – by Gerard Mansour, Commissioner for Senior Victorians – reveals isolation and loneliness is a significant issue for Victoria’s ageing population.

In response, the Labor Government will set up the Age-Friendly Victoria Initiative. Age-friendly communities encourage active ageing and boost good health, security and community participation for Victorian seniors. The initiative aims to promote the inclusion of older people and support services, businesses and community leaders to better plan for the needs of seniors and enhance quality of life for people as they age. As a key part of the initiative, the Age-Friendly Declaration means the Government and the Municipal Association of Victoria will plan for and establish age-friendly communities. Mr Foley also celebrated a milestone for the Victorian Seniors Card Program, which has this month reached one million active cardholders.

Tony Michael, 72, was today presented with his Seniors Card and Seniors Myki and a range of gifts from the Government and Telstra. The milestone comes as the program, for the first time, is offering a special Seniors Card Starters Bundle with Telstra to help seniors get connected online at home, by providing a cheaper rate. Seniors Card holders who are not connected to the internet are encouraged to visit their local Telstra retail store or call 1800 859 533 to find out more.

Martin Foley, Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing: “Our Age-Friendly initiatives will make it easier for seniors to get out and engage with their communities, while also supporting seniors to bridge the digital divide and connect with love ones online.”

We know Victoria is growing and ageing. Seniors are also working full time for longer - and that is why we all have a part to play in providing support.”

Gerard Mansour, Commissioner for Senior Victorians: “Loneliness can affect anybody at any time. My research indicates that 10% of over 60’s in Victoria experience chronic loneliness at any one time.”

Seniors were clear in their messages to me that having a value and purpose in life is of vital importance to them - as volunteers, participants of clubs and organisations and as valued members of their local communities.”

Andrew Coull, Telstra Country Wide Executive Director: “Telstra is committed to helping all Australians enjoy the benefits of being connected. It goes to the heart of what Telstra stands for.”

New communication technology gives people the chance to be more connected than ever, whether it be staying in touch with family and friends on social media or connecting with people and services in their local community.”

Download the ‘Ageing is everyone’s business’ report on social isolation and loneliness here:

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