Dorothea Allen, 80, and her husband Dan, 85, left some good friends behind when they retired to Brisbane three years ago.
“We managed a caravan park just south of Mackay, so were constantly surrounded by people,” said Dorothea. “We moved down here to be close to our children and grandchildren, which is just wonderful. But we no longer drive, which can be isolating. And I missed the joy of having my friends around me.”
Dorothea combatted her loneliness with weekly visits to Centacare’s community hub at Coorparoo. In three years, she hasn’t missed a day. “We have some good laughs, I love the chats and the gossip. And we support each other,” said Dorothea.
The importance of social connection in shaping wellbeing has been studied extensively. A 2018 Relationships Australia report found 1 in 10 Australians felt socially isolated and 1 in 6 felt lonely. Risk factors relating to loneliness have been found to be equivalent to substance abuse, obesity and smoking 15 cigarettes a day.