As Neighbour Day (held on the last Sunday in March each year) approaches, it seems timely to consider the benefits of social connection to both physical health and mental health.
Experts agree that social connections are closely tied to our physical and mental wellbeing. Having someone to talk to and support you is important. Beyond Blue’s research indicates that older people who remain connected with others and have strong relationships are likely to:
• report better quality of life and satisfaction with their life
• have delayed progression of dementia and mental decline
• need less domestic support and enjoy greater independence.
Simply put, social connections, interactions and networks matter. Overall, social connections can improve your physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Neighbour Day was started by Andrew Heslop in Melbourne, in 2003, and has progressed from a reminder to connect with elderly neighbours to an annual celebration of strong communities and friendly streets. People of all ages participate because everyone, everywhere is a neighbour no matter where you live or your personal circumstances.
Social Connection at Banksia Village
At Banksia Village, residents enjoy being part of a community, and that neighbourly care is evident in many ways. They often help each other out with transport, shopping, and generally keeping an eye out for one another.
Social networks at Banksia are strong, with numerous groups that meet regularly in one of the two function centres. Activities are as varied as snooker, aqua fit, bridge, tai chi and book club.
Regular Happy Hour and Morning Tea functions also provide a way for Banksia Village residents to enjoy some company.
But, the little things make a difference too. Being a good neighbour can involve simply saying hello to someone new in the neighbourhood, checking up on someone you haven’t seen for a while, or even assisting with physical tasks for someone with limited mobility.
The team at Neighbour Day have helpfully put together a list of tips on ways that you can be a good neighbour and contribute to the wellbeing of others. Find it at http://neighbourday.org/get-involved/very-neighbourly-tips-2019-loneliness-what-neighbours-can-do-to-create-connections/