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Why Easter matters more in aged care homes

This Easter, tightening connections could help combat loneliness in older Australians

<p>Spending Easter in an aged care home doesn’t have to be lonely with plenty of activities that can be done with others. [Source: Shutterstock]</p>

Spending Easter in an aged care home doesn’t have to be lonely with plenty of activities that can be done with others. [Source: Shutterstock]

Key points

  • Almost 20 percent of Australians over the age of 75 report feelings of loneliness
  • Getting involved in Easter activities could help make you feel more connected to others in your aged care home
  • Incorporating other cultures into your celebrations is important with Australian aged care homes becoming more culturally diverse

With Easter fast approaching, many Australians will be spending the holiday long weekend with family and friends. For older Australians living in aged care homes, far away from family, experiencing loneliness may become an issue.

Almost 20 percent of Australians over the age of 75 years old report feeling lonely, which can negatively affect mental and physical health

The World Health Organization states that ‘the effect of social isolation and loneliness on mortality is comparable to that of other well-established risk factors, such as smoking, obesity and physical inactivity.’ This indicates the importance of ensuring that measures are implemented to reduce the likelihood of older Australians facing loneliness. 

Additionally, researchers of one study concluded that an increase in loneliness and solitude in aged care homes is likely to reduce the quality of life of the affected older people.

To combat loneliness in your aged care home, getting involved in activities with others during the Easter long weekend can help people feel connected and provide a sense of belonging.

With such high rates of loneliness in aged care homes, ensuring that residents feel involved in the community is a great way to value their presence. Whether you celebrate Easter for religious reasons or for a reason to gather with loved ones, these activities are sure to get you ready to celebrate.

Holding a community Easter egg hunt isn’t just a great way to get involved with your community, but it also means you can create crafts that last well after the celebrations are over. Making baskets using paper and cardboard for local children is a way to create intergenerational connection.

The importance of older Australians engaging in art sessions cannot be underestimated. Researchers highlight the value of group art therapy with older people in aged care homes, as participants in one study were found to have reduced depressive symptoms, a greater sense of purpose as well as improved mental cognition.

However, Easter egg hunts aren’t just for children, with outdoor egg hunts being a great way for older Australians to enjoy the autumn sun. All older people can participate in such activities by staff hiding the eggs at eye-level for people in wheelchairs and on higher levels to prevent older people from having to bend too low. 

If you have a loved one in an aged care home, don’t forget to involve them in Easter celebrations. Even spending an hour or so with company and a cup of tea can make all the difference for someone experiencing loneliness. If you can’t visit over the long weekend, a phone or video call can make a big difference to someone living in aged care, even if it’s just to wish them a happy Easter. 

If you do visit someone in an aged care home this Easter and bring food to share, talk to your loved ones about any changes in diet or condition that may make it hard for them to either eat food or process food.

An older person may find themselves unable to eat certain foods because their body doesn’t process them well or they have new difficulties from recently developed health conditions.

Just as understanding dietary needs is essential, remembering that some people celebrate Easter differently can ensure mutual understanding and respect for everyone. Being aware of how different cultures may celebrate Easter can ensure that aged care residents feel in touch with their culture. 

One aged care facility in Victoria has incorporated Greek traditions into their Easter celebrations, including dyeing eggs red. Read more about the importance of incorporating culture and traditions into aged care and why Australian nursing homes are becoming more culturally diverse

 

What activities do you want to see in your aged care home this Easter?

 Let the team at Talking Aged Care know your thoughts on social media. 

For more information and news in the aged care industry, subscribe to our free newsletter. 

Relevant content:

Keep connected with the ones you love over Easter

What’s the best way to manage my medications?

Why should art sessions be included in aged care homes?

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