Keeping older residents connected

2 March 2018

One of the projects we undertook last year was to explore the needs of older residents who live in the community. We wanted to understand what their needs are so they can continue living well in the community.

The use of formal surveys and consultation with people in this demographic began the exploration process. The initial focus has been on older residents in Dunedin, with particular interest in Mosgiel and Mornington (a suburb of Dunedin).

Based on what older citizens are telling us, we know that most of them feel safe and supported. There is, however, a significant group who feel lonely at times, and who wish they had more contact with others. Research findings are available on our website.

Research has shown that connectedness is vital to prevent social isolation and loneliness. These are both key contributors to rest home admissions and Alzheimer's.So, where to from here? Over the coming months, we are going to talk further with communities in Mornington and Mosgiel using a 'Village Hub' model.

This model was developed and is in use overseas, where the emphasis is on community needs and interest. In places it has been established we have seen new activities and groups form, alongside a focal point for information sharing and some volunteer support.

We are planning the development of a smartphone app, in partnership with Age Concern and Dunedin City Library, over the coming 12 months. The app will provide information, events, programmes and services that are relevant to other people in Otago, thatcan quickly and easily be accessed.

These projects are being led by Community Development Facilitator Adrienne Henderson, with involvement from both our Family Works and Enliven teams.

“We want to be contributing toward healthy communities for residents, which includes those who are in the older age demographics. It is exciting to be working on new initiatives which will assist people in this group to remain connected and a vital part of their local community,” said Adrienne.

If anyone, particularly those living in Mornington or Mosgiel, is interested in finding out more or getting involved with the Village Hub work please get in touch with Adrienne Henderson on 03 477 7115.