I'm an Occupational Therapist who has always been passionate about the care and inclusivity of our older population. It saddens me that so many older people, who live alone, experience significant loneliness and social isolation.
After much research into what could be implemented to help tackle and reverse this situation, particularly in the Lake Mac/Newcastle areas, I came across a model from the UK that is working extremely well.
Tea Party Groups!
Once a month, a Volunteer Host holds an afternoon tea at their house for a small group of older people (75yrs and over) - on a rotational basis. Volunteer drivers pick up the older people, and take them to the afternoon, participating in the gathering as well, and then take them back home.
The idea is that the older people, and volunteers are all in close vicinity to each other. The aim is to have groups set up all over the Hunter (and maybe even state wide one day).
There are quite a few aged care services out there now, but not a lot focus solely on the social inclusion of older people. The tea party groups will be designed to be held on a Sunday (as that is when older people are often most lonely - services have ended for the week, and there's often no visitors or social contact for them over a weekend).
The UK model info can be read on their website (organisation is called Re-Engage). https://www.reengage.org.uk/
I'm hoping replicate this model here in the Hunter (specifically Lake Mac, as that is where I live), and will be calling it "Care for a Cuppa".
Funded by Lake Mac (September 2022)