The Queensland Government has announced the Council on the Aging (COTA) as the state’s first peak body on Seniors Social Isolation Prevention, which will provide support to older people to stay connected with each other and their communities.  

COTA Queensland will receive $1.25 million over five years to provide leadership and advice to more than 40 funded services throughout the state and provide research and advice to government about the impacts of social isolation for older people. 

The funding is part of a $12.5 million five-year investment to improve the quality of life for older Queenslanders at risk of social isolation or loneliness due to health issues, loss of family and friends, or limited mobility and income. 

As part of the new role, COTA Queensland will deliver training and service development opportunities for funded organisations, as well as explore online activities and volunteering in local communities for older Queenslanders. 

Around 79,000 older Queenslanders accessed Seniors Social Isolation Prevention services in 2022-23, helping them to feel more connected through activities such as line dancing, bare foot bowls and yoga. 

The announcement was made at the Bribie Island Seniors Expo, one of the many expos and pop-ups events to inform seniors about the 18 rebates and concessions available to them. 

Since 2021, more than 16,000 seniors have attended the events, with more than 300 alone this year. 

Queensland Minister for Seniors, Charis Mullen, said that this is the first time the Queensland Government has funded a peak body for Seniors Social Isolation Prevention, reflecting the importance of older people staying connected and engaged. 

“COTA Queensland does a fantastic job advocating for older people and I know they will be a great support to the many Seniors Social Isolation services throughout the state,” Minister Mullen said.  

“Older Queenslanders deserve to feel connected and cared for and these services do a wonderful job bringing people together to learn about what support is available while having some fun at the same time.” 

COTA Queensland’s CEO, Darren Young, said that social isolation and loneliness can be a significant threat to wellbeing and quality of life for more vulnerable older people as they age. 

“We are delighted that the Queensland Government has offered us the opportunity to take on the role of the seniors’ social isolation peak service,” Mr Young said.  

“The loss of a partner, difficulty with transport, absence of family, struggling with English as a second language or just finding it difficult to pick up a phone or use a computer – these are all things that can contribute to social isolation. 

“As the new Seniors Social Isolation Peak Body, we look forward to collaborating with the many trusted local community organisations who deliver front line services and programs and make significant contribution to social isolation prevention.” 

Image: fizkes/shutterstock.com 

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