Report finds one in four Australians is lonely

A new report has found that one in four Australians is lonely.

One in four Aussies lonely: report

A new report has found that one in four Australians is lonely.

The Australian Psychological Society and Swinburne University’s Australian Loneliness Report, released last week, found that one in two (50.5 per cent) Australians feel lonely for at least one day in a week, while more than one in four (27.6 per cent) feel lonely for three or more days.

The results come from a survey of 1678 Australians from across the nation and used a comprehensive measure of loneliness to assess how it related to mental health and physical health outcomes.

The report found nearly 55 per cent of the population feel they lack companionship at least sometimes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Australians who are married or in a de facto relationship are the least lonely, compared to those who are single, separated or divorced.

While Australians are reasonably connected to their friends and families, they don’t have the same relationships with their neighbours. Almost half of Australians (47 per cent) reported not having neighbours to call on for help.

Lonely Australians, when compared with their less lonely counterparts, reported higher social anxiety and depression, poorer psychological health and quality of life, and fewer meaningful relationships and social interactions.

Loneliness increases a person’s likelihood of experiencing depression by 15.2 per cent and the likelihood of social anxiety increases by 13.1 per cent. Those who are lonelier also report being more anxious during social interactions.

Interestingly, more Australians aged 56-65 were lonely compared with other age groups, while those aged over 65 were the least lonely.

Swinburne University clinical psychologist Dr Michelle Lim said the report showed that the physical effects of loneliness were too powerful to ignore.

“Researchers are just beginning to understand the detrimental effects of loneliness on our health, social lives and communities,” Dr Lim said.

“Even caring and highly trained staff at emergency departments may trivialise the needs of lonely people presenting repeatedly and direct them to resources that aren’t right.

“Increasing awareness, formalised training, and policies are all steps in the right direction to reduce this poor care.

“For some people, simple solutions such as joining shared interest groups (such as book clubs) or shared experienced groups (such as bereavement or carers groups) may help alleviate their loneliness,” she said.

How many times a week do you feel lonely? What tactics have you employed to try and combat loneliness? Do you feel like your loneliness affects your physical wellbeing?

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    COMMENTS

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    patti
    13th Nov 2018
    10:20am
    I choose to live alone, but not to be lonely. However, so many friends and relatives have died over the past few years that I do feel isolated at times. I'm not brilliant at asking for help, but after a recent heart attack I have had to ask.......but so few people available now and it seems they all have their own issues too. Sad society when we have to pay strangers to help us out
    KB
    13th Nov 2018
    11:59am
    Patti Have you tried connecting with neighbours in your community? Invite your neighbour in for drink. Start the ball rolling in your street Christmas time coming up so good opportunity. My good neighbour and friend passed away . Only woman in my block of units.Miss our friendly chats at the letter box. I understand what you are going through.
    Barbara Mathieson
    13th Nov 2018
    10:24am
    If you are lonely you need to use your community to create a ‘ family’
    You must make an effort to get out , mix, join, groups of whatever takes your fancy.
    Volunteering has been beneficial for me , as well as joining committees which require your input/ action.
    Certainly requires some effort , but then anything that is worthwhile in life does.
    KB
    13th Nov 2018
    11:50am
    I do not mind living alone. Always make an effort to say hello to people when I am out shopping and so forth. Friends that I used to see have their own issues,
    Gammer
    13th Nov 2018
    12:57pm
    I find volunteering at an aged persons home helps alleviate my loneliness... but the weekends are probably the toughest days as I don’t want to intrude on my children’s families (they are all so busy with their children’s activities). I do make a point of chatting briefly with folk when out walking my dog, though.
    Triss
    13th Nov 2018
    1:31pm
    The best way to cure loneliness is to find someone or a group that shares an interest with you. If your interest is gardening join a gardening club or community gardening. Photography, vegetarian eating/cooking or writing murder mysteries there’s bound to be a group you can join and you’ll have more success making friends with like-minded people.
    Disenchanted
    13th Nov 2018
    9:59pm
    Loneliness is an horrific situation to be in. I was knee deep in loneliness. I had my children accusing me of needing mental health assessment, because I was behaving inappropriately. I was denied access to my grandchildren despite the fact I had been at my childrens beck and call to help out both financially and with school runs etc etc. I had to make the decision to change the situation to suit myself because my family had abandoned me and my neighbors were younger than myself and were out at work. The silence was deafening. I decided to move into a retirement village. It was the best thing I ever did. It was not without a few problems but not ones that I couldn't overcome. I now live happily ever after, without my grandchildren, which hurts me badly. I miss them hugely, but I just keep thinking that one day the grandchildren will have minds of their own and will return to me. I may have to wait a while, but I am building friendships with like minded Baby Boomers and my door will always be open to my misguided children who are making all the cruel rules. I am consoled by the fact this is a common problem with the children of Baby Boomers. If you have children that love you unconditionally you are lucky and have wonderful children. I wasn't but I have to suck that one up.
    Disenchanted
    13th Nov 2018
    9:59pm
    Loneliness is an horrific situation to be in. I was knee deep in loneliness. I had my children accusing me of needing mental health assessment, because I was behaving inappropriately. I was denied access to my grandchildren despite the fact I had been at my childrens beck and call to help out both financially and with school runs etc etc. I had to make the decision to change the situation to suit myself because my family had abandoned me and my neighbors were younger than myself and were out at work. The silence was deafening. I decided to move into a retirement village. It was the best thing I ever did. It was not without a few problems but not ones that I couldn't overcome. I now live happily ever after, without my grandchildren, which hurts me badly. I miss them hugely, but I just keep thinking that one day the grandchildren will have minds of their own and will return to me. I may have to wait a while, but I am building friendships with like minded Baby Boomers and my door will always be open to my misguided children who are making all the cruel rules. I am consoled by the fact this is a common problem with the children of Baby Boomers. If you have children that love you unconditionally you are lucky and have wonderful children. I wasn't but I have to suck that one up.
    Ardnaher
    14th Nov 2018
    6:16pm
    goog on you Disenchanted. I only wished we had movedd 15 years earlier as we have a new lease on life now without the burden of a four bedroom home and large gardens. No regrets at all on our move
    Disenchanted
    13th Nov 2018
    9:59pm
    Loneliness is an horrific situation to be in. I was knee deep in loneliness. I had my children accusing me of needing mental health assessment, because I was behaving inappropriately. I was denied access to my grandchildren despite the fact I had been at my childrens beck and call to help out both financially and with school runs etc etc. I had to make the decision to change the situation to suit myself because my family had abandoned me and my neighbors were younger than myself and were out at work. The silence was deafening. I decided to move into a retirement village. It was the best thing I ever did. It was not without a few problems but not ones that I couldn't overcome. I now live happily ever after, without my grandchildren, which hurts me badly. I miss them hugely, but I just keep thinking that one day the grandchildren will have minds of their own and will return to me. I may have to wait a while, but I am building friendships with like minded Baby Boomers and my door will always be open to my misguided children who are making all the cruel rules. I am consoled by the fact this is a common problem with the children of Baby Boomers. If you have children that love you unconditionally you are lucky and have wonderful children. I wasn't but I have to suck that one up.
    Ardnaher
    14th Nov 2018
    6:13pm
    "Consider an older couple living in the suburbs, perhaps in a battle axe home built on a slope. They can no longer drive and the husband is housebound. The bus stop is 200 metres away.

    How does the wife get to the shops, buy the groceries for the week and carry them home? She starts going out less, buying fewer items, mainly processed foods which are lighter.

    Both their diets are damaged. And they withdraw into their home. Isolation and depression.

    Retirement villages however are structured to support them in their ageing journey. Social interaction, day-to-day activities like shopping. The safe physical environment.

    There is a cost to retirement villages but what value do you place on contentment compared to depression, and an extra five years of independent living?"

    taken from

    https://www.agedcare101.com.au/the-donaldson-sisters/may-live-longer-live-better-retirement-village/


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