With the festive season fast approaching, lonely Australian seniors living in aged care are set to receive a massive boost of happiness thanks to a new partnership between Foxtel and the amazing aged care gift-giving program, Connect the 40% (CT40).
Launched just over a year ago, Connect the 40% is a first-of-its-kind digital platform that allows everyday Australians to purchase gifts and experiences for aged care residents who are lonely, low mood or socially withdrawn.
The name Connect the 40% stems from the sad estimate that 40% of Australian older people living in aged care don’t receive regular visitors.
Over the last year, CT40 has relied solely on the generosity of the Australian public to fulfil aged care resident gift requests, but yesterday’s partnership announcement with Australia’s premier entertainment broadcaster, Foxtel will help to ensure that all resident stockings are stuffed in December.
To celebrate this partnership – which includes a very generous donation for resident gifts – members of Foxtel and the CT40 visited Arcare Parkview in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs for a day of gift giving and experiences.
Residents at the home began their day with a visit from a petting zoo and spent the morning cuddling up to a variety of furry friends that included piglets, goats, rabbits and geese, while other residents received a variety of gifts ranging from animatronic pets and puzzles.
The day of gifting was capped off with a visit from an art therapist who provided an interactive lesson for two residents who wanted to explore their own artistic expression.
One enthused onlooker on the day was Tom Enright, Foxtel’s national manager of Health & Corporate who relished the opportunity to hand out gifts personally and witness the smiles on residents’ faces.
The Connect the 40% program is the brainchild of former aged care nurse and CarePage CEO Lauren Todorovic, who witnessed the negative impact of loneliness on aged care residents firsthand.
The process begins with CT40 engaging with Lifestyle team members of an aged care provider who can identify residents who would be suitable candidates to receive a gift or experience. These residents are then asked if there is any type of meaningful gift or experience that would bring them some happiness, along with some questions about their life prior to living in aged care. The CT40 team then utilises this information to create a profile for each resident on their website that includes their gift requests which members of the public can purchase for them.
Over the past year, CT40 has provided hundreds of gifts for seniors including helicopter rides, visits from opera singers, trips to cafes and ongoing visits from companion carers to stave off loneliness.
Gift-giving can have a profound positive effect on the mood of seniors residing in aged care homes. Beyond the material value, thoughtful gifts convey a sense of connection and care, combating feelings of loneliness and fostering a supportive environment. These tokens of affection serve as tangible reminders that they are remembered and valued, elevating their spirits and reducing social isolation.
The act of gift-giving also encourages social interactions, creates opportunities for shared conversations and assists in building a sense of community within the care facility.