According to Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) Mayor, Councillor Doug Hawkins OAM, while Christmas is just around the corner, for many Seniors who don’t have a lot of family support or connection with neighbours, the holiday period may be a trying time particularly following the disruptions of the last 10 months caused by COVID-19.
Councillor Hawkins said R U OK? have launched a campaign to connect senior Australians through the gift of conversation.
“The campaign, Your Natter Matters aims to empower our Seniors to reach out to one another to increase their confidence levels and reinforce to them the value of simply asking Are you OK? and lending a listening ear,” he said.
R U OK? Campaign Director, Gennie Sheer, said “a meaningful natter can positively impact feelings of self-worth and self-esteem and make a big difference to someone who might be struggling with life.”
Councillor Hawkins said, the signs it’s time for an R U OK? conversation can be subtle.
“There might be changes in verbal or non-verbal behaviour. Someone might tell you they’re having difficulty filling their days or they might be withdrawing from social situations. If we know someone is going through a significant life change that’s when we should make a conscious effort to connect.
“Additionally, some Seniors will experience mental health challenges for the first time and not know how or where to find support. Isolation, grief, changing circumstances and concern about their independence can all increase risk factors,” he said.
Kirrily Lord, General Manager Retirement Living Operations said, “the campaign recognises the breadth of life experience older adults can draw on to support those around them who might be struggling.
“We know that at times, Seniors might be reluctant to reach out so it’s important their peers know when and how to start a conversation that could change a life,” Councillor Hawkins continued.
“Ageing is not without challenges. Health, relocation, loss, isolation or difficulties completing tasks that were once simple, any of these can lead to friends, family members or neighbours becoming disconnected from their community and support networks. Our Seniors have paid their dues, they deserve our support and I’m proud to support the Your Natter Matters campaign. Go to https://www.ruok.org.au/yournattermatters for more information and to download your free guide,” he concluded.