As people get older, many find that transport becomes more and more difficult.
This could be for a number of reasons; some people become more frail and have challenges with their mobility.
While others find that their driving ability may diminish, and they are recommended to give up their keys and wheels.
Most older people want to remain active and independent, and part of that is being mobile.
However, there aren’t always options for them to do so, which eventually leads to them becoming socially isolated.
The solution for this needs to have the community, whether it be locals or a professional service, looking out for elderly people who live there.
One post that went viral on Facebook showed a unique friendship between a local young man and an elderly woman.
“A couple of months ago, an elderly lady asked me to walk her home because she was scared she was going to slip on the ice. We’ve become friends and now I walk her home almost everyday.”
Though the man modestly talks about how he has befriended the woman, what he has unknowingly done if help her feel confident to go outside, and given her a friend and companion to socialise with.
Social isolation is a serious problem for many elderly people. Loneliness causes people to feel empty, alone, and unwanted. And it can actually be bad for your health.
The health risks associated with loneliness includes mental health issues, like increased stress, antisocial behaviour, depression and suicide, as well as physical conditions like cardiovascular disease, stroke and dementia.
Something as simple as being mobile, can help prevent this.
A new research suggests that for many older Australians, accessing transport is proving confusing and challenging.
In a partnership between University of Sydney and Whiddon Aged Care Group, an inquiry into the aged care system was made which led to insights into the issues older people face when trying to access services.
The research, which was conducted in 2016, involved 57 aged care residents aged from 59 through to 92, and about 54 aged care providers.
When asked about their experiences with aged care services, including the government’s My Aged Care, it was found that loss of mobility was a major concern.
Lead researcher, Professor Yun-Hee Jeon, explains that access to reliable transport was considered “crucial” for meeting domestic, health and social needs.
However the study found “insufficient” public transport resulted in consumers’ dependency on family or community services.
“The transport services are useful for people who are mobile but they are not necessarily helpful if they have dementia or have a physical disability,” Prof Jeon said.
“In the country towns buses don’t come around often enough so they rely on taxi vouchers,” she added.
If mobility challenges are dealt with, not only would it decrease the chances of social isolation and loneliness, but by allowing the older person to be active, it helps them with maintain their overall mental and physical health.
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