Priority action area 1: Resilient, connected seniors

Increasing opportunities for older people to retain a sense of purpose through social and intergenerational connections

The importance of social connections

Social connection to friends, family and community is vital to everyone’s wellbeing. Many older people have fulfilling personal relationships through family contact, neighbourliness, volunteering or belonging to organisations and clubs. These can improve the experience of less social contact in later life due to:

  • retirement
  • loss of family connections
  • death of a partner
  • onset of illness
  • entry to residential aged care
  • loss of mobility.

Loneliness and social isolation can severely affect physical health and mental wellbeing. Loneliness in older people can lead to depression, mental impairment, heart disease and high blood pressure. These conditions can mean admitting a person to acute health services or aged care too early. Health concerns can also mean more visits to emergency departments. Loneliness can also lead to risk-taking behaviours such as alcohol and drug abuse and further isolation.

People who are socially engaged are happier and healthier than those who are not. They have better levels of health and wellbeing that, in turn, allow ongoing social activity and wellbeing.

Older people told the Commissioner for Senior Victorians that volunteering and belonging to clubs or community groups is vital for having meaning and purpose in life. It also leads to social connections that they can sustain. During our extended lockdown periods, many community-based organisations stopped operating. This meant they lost volunteers and members, and stopped running activities. Helping older people and community organisations get back to offering social activities will help the wellbeing of all Victorians.

Timeline of what the government will deliver

  • From 2022

    We will deliver

    More volunteering opportunities for seniors. We will work with the volunteer sector to deliver meaningful and flexible volunteering roles in safe, age-friendly and inclusive spaces.


    More people volunteer.

  • 2022-23

    We will deliver

    Consideration of the needs of older migrants and refugees. This follows the report of the Parliamentary Inquiry into support for older Victorians from migrant and refugee backgrounds.


    The needs of older migrants and refugees are identified and explored.

    We will deliver

    An education campaign across the Victorian public service (VPS) for the recently launched Public Engagement Framework (PEF). The PEF has two domains:

    • build stronger relationships and engaged communities
    • a public sector that engages effectively with Victorians.


    Increased capability within the VPS in running public consultations

  • 2022-24

    We will deliver

    Continue to expand and reimagine the Victorian Seniors Festival. This includes online performances and the Recognising Senior Victorians Living in Aged Care program. The program reaches out to aged care residents to record and post their life stories on Seniors Online.


    Greater recognition and entertainment for aged care residents.

  • 2022-25

    We will deliver

    Under the Victorian Government’s LGBTIQ+ and youth strategies, support opportunities for young and older LGBTIQ+ people to foster connections with peers and LGBTIQ+ communities.


    More social connection across the LGBTIQ+ community and better health outcomes.

Timeline of what the government is delivering

  • 2022–25

    We are delivering

    Support for multicultural seniors’ groups through the Multicultural Seniors Support program. This will be for:

    • excursions
    • cultural activities
    • regular gatherings
    • running costs
    • purchasing resources or equipment (sewing machines, laptops, printers) for the benefit of groups and members
    • delivering practical supports (such as home deliveries of essential items)
    • advancing multicultural seniors’ internet accessibility, digital literacy and access to computers.


    Reduced social isolation and better social connections among multicultural seniors.