Seeking solutions for lonely and isolated older people | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Seeking solutions for lonely and isolated older people

What impact is social isolation having on older people in regional communities, and what can be done to make a difference – virtually and in real life?

These are some of the key issues to be covered at a Healthy Ageing and Community Care symposium on Thursday 2 November, hosted by the University of Sunshine Coast’s Healthy Ageing Hub, based at its Gympie campus.

The conference will include a showcase by researchers and industry experts of local projects, research initiatives and approaches to reducing social isolation.

UniSC aged care academic Dr John Rosenberg, whose presentation will explore ways to create compassionate communities, said there was a growing need to help older people beat loneliness and improve their wellbeing.

“We know that as we get older it can be harder to maintain personal connections due to reduced mobility, health issues and other factors – and that can impact on our health,” he said.

“This symposium is an opportunity to hear more about solutions to social isolation and to participate in concrete actions that can lead to improved health and wellbeing as we age.”

The role of emerging technology in transforming ageing and social isolation in regional Australia will be addressed in a presentation titled ‘This is my robot Timmy’ by Professor Evonne Miller from the Queensland University of Technology.

Professor Laurie Buys from Australian Catholic University will discuss longevity and ‘living our best life’.

Another presentation will acknowledge the social isolation of Elders in the community, with Uncle Henry Neill from James Cook University outlining practical ways to promote healthy dialogue between Elders and service providers.

‘Building Bridges’ is the title of a discussion by Country to Coast Public Health Network Deputy Director of Education Aletha Ward, who will explore ways to empower communities by reducing social isolation through non-clinical connections.

The symposium is open to academic staff, students, aged and home care service providers, health care providers, industry and professional bodies, and interested community members.

Participants will break into groups to explore strategies to address regional priorities such as dementia, mobility and flexibility, robotics and care-giving.

UniSC Nursing Science students will deliver a demonstration on how to safely move older people in and out of bed.

Tickets to the full day in-person event are limited. Once sold out, the event will be available as a zoom webinar for the Symposium Showcase only. Registrations close 4pm Wednesday 1 November. More details available here.

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