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Loneliness during the festive season

The end of the year and the festive season can mean different things for different people. For some it can be a time of isolation and loneliness.


The end of the year and the festive season can mean different things for different people. For some people, it’s all about spending time with family or loved ones. For others, it’s a chance to take a break, retreat from the hustle and bustle and enjoy some quiet time. It can also be a time of isolation and loneliness, particularly for those whose loved ones have moved, are living far away or have sadly passed away.

Loneliness can affect our health, self-worth and wellbeing. Some people feel reluctant to share how they are feeling, or a feel a sense of shame or embarrassment about loneliness, but it’s much more common than you think.

A recent report from TelstraExternal Link shows 91 per cent of Australians have experienced feelings of loneliness. People of all ages can experience loneliness, too. In fact, some research shows younger people experience loneliness more than older age groups.

Almost 5,000 older Victorians surveyed for the Commissioner for Senior Victorians’ Ageing well in a changing world report shared their experiences of loneliness. Forty-one per cent said they feel lonely often or some of the time, and 21 per cent said they have none or little of the love or friendship that they want. Survey respondents who reported not feeling lonely were more likely to participate in activities and groups.

If you’re feeling lonely, support is available. Here are some ideas and services that might help you.

Chat to the friendly volunteers at Friendline

FriendLine is a free support service for anyone who needs to reconnect or just wants a chat. The trained volunteers at Friendline are always ready for a cuppa and a conversation. Friendline is available 7 days a week, over the phone at 1800 4 CHATS (1800 424 287) or through the online chat serviceExternal Link .

Learn more about Friendline.

Start a new hobby or join a community group

Joining a new activity or hobby can feel daunting. According to the Telstra research, feeling welcome at an activity or group would make it easier for 46 per cent of people to get involved. This number increased to 63 per cent for Australians who identify as LGBTI+.

There are a range of groups and activities available in your local community, from libraries to Neighbourhood Houses, Men’s Sheds, Probus Clubs, U3As, Life Activities Clubs and more. There are also some fantastic social groups and networks for LGBTI+ older people.

Build technology skills to connect online

People aged over 65 are among the most ‘digitally excluded’ in Australia, with many older people facing barriers to accessing technology and devices. By learning new skills, you can connect with others through social media, emails and even virtual groups. Check out what’s available at your local library, U3A or Neighborhood House.

Access the Community Visitors Scheme

The Community Visitors Scheme is funded by the Australian government and plays a vital role in providing companionship for older people living in Aged Care homes or living in their own homes and receiving or waitlisted for a home care package. Since 1992 the Community Visitors Scheme has matched volunteers with older Australians for regular visits for friendship and companionship.

Learn more about the Community Visitors Scheme.

Read the Commissioner for Senior Victorians blog about re-connecting via volunteering.

Reviewed 21 November 2022