Held annually on 14th September since its foundation in 2009, R U OK? Day is a national day of action dedicated to connecting with others with one simple but potentially life-changing question.

By starting a conversation, you could help a person really open up. If they say they are not ok, then you can find ways to show them they’re supported and help them find strategies to better manage the load. If they are ok, that person will know you’re someone who cares enough to ask.

For many older people, social isolation is a serious issue. Many elderly Australians find themselves feeling lonely after they lose a spouse, friends their own age start to pass away, their children move away or they are placed in aged care.   

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013), the number of elderly people living alone continued to rise along with increasing age, from 29.7 per cent for those 75 to 85 years old, to 35.2 per cent after the age of 85+ years old. Elderly women in particular were more likely than elderly men to find themselves living alone.

RetireAustralia will take part in R U OK? Day this September, with events at retirement villages across Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia.

Village residents and staff will host morning teas and a range of activities, with everyone welcome to attend, with the purpose of getting together, starting conversations, and asking “Are you okay?”

The aim of the initiative is to support anyone struggling with life, ensure they are protected from suicide, and have access to relationships filled with hope and kindness.

RetireAustralia CEO, Alison Quinn, said taking part in R U OK? Day is an opportunity to help boost the wellbeing and happiness of both residents and members of the wider community.

“It’s RetireAustralia’s philosophy to foster supportive and caring environments in our villages, so we are delighted to be taking part in R U OK? Day,” Alison said.

“Asking a friend, family member, neighbour, or colleague ‘Are you okay?’ can make an immeasurable difference to a person.”

Beyondblue estimates between 10 and 15 per cent of older people experience depression, with many people over 65 feeling there is a stigma attached to depression and anxiety, viewing them as weaknesses or character flaws.

R U OK? was set up to foster meaningful conversations about life’s ups and downs and help create a more connected world.

If you are affected by depression or anxiety and need to talk, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyondblue on 1300 224 636.

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