Loneliness has taken on a new meaning this year. With COVID-19, a lot of Australians have been staying home, socially distanced and isolated, getting a glimpse of the kind of solitude that one in four Australians regularly feel.
We know that loneliness can kill, and we know that more people are at risk than ever before. Those who can’t connect through Zoom meetings because they can’t work out the technology. Those whose family can’t visit, because they’re in another state. Those who no longer have their regular services and resources available despite their illness, disability, lack of transport or old age.
But we believe that no one should ever be lonely. That’s why, especially through the most difficult times, we’re raising awareness of the impacts of loneliness and tackling it together.
Check out our top tips for reducing social isolation with technology and read on to discover more about our bold ambition to end loneliness for good.
1. Start with the basics
Overcoming or improving loneliness can be as simple as reaching out and connecting with other people; and the great news is that connection has been made so much easier with technology.
Whether it’s Skyping family members, sending a quick message through Facebook, scrolling through Instagram to see the photos friends are putting up or chatting with people in online forums, there are so many possibilities for connecting online – especially for those who may get nervous while meeting others face-to-face.
For those who don’t know where to begin, our Technical Support Officer Elliott suggests catering directly to your interests and getting in touch with someone who might be able to help you discover what will suit you best, such as a family member or neighbour who can show you the basics.
“This might involve working out how to read and reply to emails; use Google Maps; or simply following your closest family members on social media and going from there,” Elliott explains.
2. Get a Technical Support Officer to break it down
You might not understand exactly where to begin, and that’s ok. Feros Care is here, and our Technical Support Officers know exactly how to introduce you to the technology that will best suit your needs.
“Most of my clients have dabbled in technology but are not really into it,” explains Elliott. “They’re worried they might break something, or get hacked, or scammed. They might have a tablet but haven’t touched it for six months.”
That’s why we introduced our Let’s Get Technical program. It’s all about setting you up with one-on-one sessions with our technical experts, who will find out your personal goals and work with you to achieve them. And we promise you won’t break anything, or get scammed or hacked along the way.
3. Make the most of the programs
The one-on-one sessions of the Let’s Get Technical program means that you have ten opportunities to discover more and transform your lives – plus you get highly valuable company along the way.
“The program makes a huge difference in the lives of clients who might be lonely,” says Elliott “So many clients are at home by themselves and love me coming by and talking to them. They just love the chat, and learning the devices is a huge bonus because they can then connect with so many others through the new skills they have.”
Faye, age 80, (Program Participant) told us
“Since having this assistance, I have noticed changes in my mental ability. I am less forgetful. I am more optimistic and wake eager to embrace the day and all it may bring.”
4. Discover a world of possibilities out there
Once you’ve mastered the skills, you can connect with other opportunities such as Feros Care’s Virtual Social Centre program. It offers clients the opportunity to learn languages, engage in at home exercises, catch up with other clients, or even try new arts and crafts from the comfort of their home.
There truly is something for everyone – including, and not limited to, poetry reading, music, writing, and painting. Healthy living sessions like nutrition and health literacy. Open mic story telling, music concerts and virtual tours. It’s all there.
More than 60 online sessions are broadcast by professionals and volunteers each week. You can even grab a coffee with a brand new virtual friend, without leaving your own kitchen!
Barbara, QLD (Virtual Social Centre participant) told us:
“We need it so much at the moment. We can still have a community. Being in a community is so important as a human being.”
5. Never stop learning
“There are so many ways to improve our day-to-day life that you may have never thought about,” Elliott points out. And all of them can happen through technology.
This might be something as simple as discovering a new recipe through Google Home, with the device walking you through each individual step. Or figuring out how to join a trivia team via Zoom.
It could even be a more traditional experience gone virtual, like a medical appointment. Clients are able to schedule regular Telehealth conferences with a Feros Care nurse to check in on medications, blood pressure and more. Our clients are even able to use their Google Home devices to manage their MyFeros portal and access their account, book services and more.
We know that a well-connected world is our best chance at ending loneliness for good.
Our Be Someone For Someone initiative offers a range of resources, programs and opportunities to support those that are lonely, or those wanting to help someone who is lonely.