The Power of Human Connection


Article by 

Alicia Renfrew

Loneliness is a growing epidemic impacting seniors across the country. 1 in 4 older Australians are lonely, which greatly impacts their physical health, mental health, and overall well-being. This is more likely to lead to depression, anxiety, and chronic illness. They are considered significant health and well-being issues in Australia because of the impact they have on people’s lives.

It affects people from all walks of life. It’s a feeling of distress when people do not experience social relationships in the ways they would like. It causes a feeling of social isolation, which is different to feeling alone. Social isolation is seen as the state of having minimal contact with others. Some definitions include loneliness as a form of social isolation. Others state that loneliness is an emotional reaction to social isolation.

The two concepts do not necessarily co-exist. A person may be socially isolated but not lonely or socially connected but feel lonely.

30% of Australians do not feel part of a group of friends.

Research suggests that loneliness is highly stigmatised. Those affected are reluctant to talk about their experiences of loneliness. They worry it is a sign of personal weakness and that they will be judged for expressing their feelings.

This makes identifying people at risk of loneliness and social isolation more challenging. Part of the challenge in reporting on social isolation and loneliness stems from a lack of information about these experiences. Additionally, there’s a lack of universally agreed-upon definitions.

We need to form meaningful human connections with others. Loneliness may be a sign that a person’s relationships are inadequate or don’t meet their needs or expectations.

Research has found that loneliness is related more to the quality of the relationships rather than the quantity. A staggering 30% of Australians do not feel part of a group of friends.

A person experiencing loneliness feels their relationships are not meaningful and they are not understood by others.


Some of the measures implemented to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, such as physical isolation and lockdowns, have potentially exacerbated pre-existing risk factors for social isolation and loneliness by limiting human connection or removing it altogether. In surveys undertaken since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, just over half (54%) of respondents reported that they felt lonelier since the start of the pandemic.

The pandemic has seen carers experiencing a decline in psychological well-being, concerns about their own personal health and well-being, increased practical and logistical concerns, and reduction, withdrawal, or suspension of the care recipients’ key support services. This has resulted in increased social isolation, lack of information, added challenges with daily activities and overall heightened stress levels.

In addition to an increase in the number of hours of care provided, carers also said they needed to take on different types of support than before.

The lack of respite support was a common reason carers gave for the decline in their well-being. This highlights the considerable negative impact the pandemic has had on our carer’s health and well-being, which exacerbates pre-existing risk factors for social isolation and loneliness.


We know that isolation and loneliness is a huge problem for this community. We recognise the impact human connection has not only on seniors themselves but also on their caregivers. Our organisation’s foundation is based on our mission. This is to use the power of human connection to relieve isolation and loneliness for Australians. We are a non-profit organisation that has been specialising in community connection for 49 years. That’s why we develop and deliver cutting-edge social connection programs. This helps to improve the lives of others, to engage our communities and build happiness and confidence in our seniors and their carers. We have built a community where everyone feels valued and comfortable to join in and connect on their terms. Additionally, we have the experience, capabilities, and passion to create a community that provides human connection, enjoyment and belonging.

We are leaders in connection, positively enhancing the lives of older Australians who are vulnerable to loneliness and isolation. Our Social Connection Programs are designed to connect seniors to volunteers, their peers, friends, family, and their greater community using the power of digital technology.

Our programs are developed with both the carer and the participant in mind. They have proven very successful in providing much-needed, additional support for our carers, as well as the people for whom they are caring. Carers have found the programs hugely beneficial not just for themselves but also for the people they care for. Our programs enable carers to improve the level of care they provide by offering additional resources to support the participant to create other meaningful, social connections whilst also providing the carer with much-needed support and valuable time to be able to carry out other activities in the home, or even just some welcomed rest.


These programs are open to seniors in specific aged care planning regions in Australia. Our specialised programs are designed for participants and volunteers to connect, learn, and enjoy. We are a Connecting Community that delivers experiences for participants and volunteers that are enjoyable and inclusive. We connect people together, creating a place they feel valued, comfortable and can belong. Our simple technology and easy-to-join specialised programs allow you to completely connect to the community, whether it’s connecting with individuals, groups, or family and friends.

Our programs are funded by various government grants, including the Commonwealth Home Support Program and the Federal Community Visitors Scheme. They are completely free for the participant; however, some eligibility conditions apply. If the participant does not meet our funding criteria, we will always be happy to refer them to a similar service funded in their specific area.


Learn new skills, and gain knowledge and confidence using technology with our supportive learning programs. Find enjoyment in discovering new interests, revisiting favourite activities, and coming together for special events. With a diverse range of specialised programs and activities delivered through our easy-to-use digital technology, we are a thriving community offering something for everyone. All you need to do is join in.

You can play bingo, the ultimate online trivia or be whisked away on a virtual adventure with interests2enjoy or connect2one if you prefer to have a virtual visit all to yourself. Would you rather see a smiley face in person? You can join our face2face program, where you can share stories, memories, and experiences with your volunteer over your favourite cuppa.

Interested in learning digital skills? Our learn2tech program has been designed to teach you anything and everything about the digital landscape. All you need to do is choose your topic and join in with your very own dedicated Digital Mentor.

We empower our community by providing the tools, support, and skills to give people the freedom to connect on their terms. Each participant is provided with a digital tablet on loan that has been specially programmed with easy-to-use software and a mobile internet connection built into the device (via a SIM card). This enables each participant to access this community, even if there is no internet connection at home.


The Inclusee community is a place where people can make new human connections and revisit old ones, learn new skills, and find enjoyment in activities, interests and events. Our goal is to increase inclusiveness and connection by creating a community that delivers experiences for participants and volunteers that are enjoyable. You can connect with us by calling 1800 287 687 or visiting

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