Volunteers urged for new visitor to keep senior loneliness at bay

DID you know that one in four people feel lonely and a third say they have no friends or social group?

According to a survey conducted by The Australian Psychological Society, lonely Australians have worse physical and mental health and are more likely to be depressed.
Alarmed by these findings, Canterbury Earlwood Caring Association Ltd (CECAL) is offering a new service where friendly volunteers (who have undergone police checks) can visit fortnightly those aged over 65 and living in the Inner West.
CECAL Project Worker Margherita Briscas says loneliness is a complex and unpleasant emotional response to isolation.
“Loneliness typically includes anxious feelings about a lack of connection with other beings,” she explained.
“If ignored and left untreated, loneliness can have serious health implications such as disrupted sleep, impaired immune responses, inflammation, mental health conditions, substance abuse and risk of heart disease and stroke which could lead to an increased risk of death.
“The first step is to recognise these feelings and seek to connect with others, keep physically and cognitively active, become involved in community events, reconnect with family and friends and connect with local community service providers, like us, who can help.”
If you would like to know more about the new visitor service, or you know someone who could benefit, call Margherita on 9559 4013 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.