In recognition of the impact that COVID19 has had on older adults in our communities, the Federal Government has allocated funding to provide extra support to people aged 65 years and over and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 55 years and over across Australia who have experienced feelings of loneliness and a loss of connection as a result of COVID19. GP down south has received part of this funding and will provide free support to older adults living in the South-West region of WA, including Bunbury and surrounds, the Warren Blackwood and Busselton / Margaret River regions. This new program will support older adults to improve their mental health as well as facilitate connections with other services and social networks in an individualised approach, assisting older adults to establish or re-establish connections in their communities and provide one on one mental health support to improve their overall health and wellbeing. Humans are a pack species. Social connections are crucial for us to survive and thrive. COVID19 has affected nearly everyone’s social connections across the world to one degree or another. The fear of contracting COVID19 and the social distancing restrictions put in place mean that vulnerable, older adults living by themselves, became even more isolated due to restrictions on their social connections and connections with their family who may live in other parts of Australia or the world. The impact of COVID 19 may leave older adults more vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation, which can negatively impact their physical health and mental well-being. Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are associated with higher risks for health problems such as heart disease, depression, and cognitive decline and that socially isolated or lonely adults are more likely to have longer, and more frequent hospital stays. Maintaining social connection and cognitive activity are the keys to a longer, more meaningful life. If you or someone you know could benefit from this FREE extra support, please see your GP or other allied health provider to complete a referral. For more information you can call 9754 3662 or check the mental health information on our website.
GP down south is an exemplary not-for-profit community organisation. We have been providing health and wellbeing services in the Peel regions and the South West of WA since 1994.