Beating the COVID Blues

The free program supporting isolated seniors to reconnect with life.

Funded by the

Already amongst the most vulnerable to loneliness and isolation, COVID-19 has caused many older Australians to become disconnected from loved ones, social connections, community and activities - all of which are vital to their health and wellbeing. This funded program supports seniors to re-establish vital connections as a route to improved mental health.

What is the 'Beating the COVID Blues' program?

Beating the COVID Blues is a social prescription program that compliments current health care services and networks. It takes a person-centred, preventative, holistic and reablement approach that focuses on re-integrating seniors into their local community and networks by creating and re-establishing social connections.

Over 12 weeks, participants will be supported to overcome loneliness and its mental health impacts, helping them to live happier, bolder, better-connected lives.

The Beating the COVID Blues program is supported by the Hunter, New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network.

If you're feeling the COVID blues:

How does it work?

A Wellbeing Coach will work with eligible seniors to develop a 'What Matters to Me' plan. This will involve coaching and supporting seniors to reconnect with the people and activities they love, along with possibly trying some new ways to connect too!

The program includes validated assessment tools so that goals and health outcomes can be tracked, measured and shared with relevant health professionals, in an integrated approach.

Place-based, the program makes the very best of Hunter's strong third sector - purposefully linking seniors with the community and faith-based organisations, volunteering, physical and spiritual activities, social enterprise, arts and culture and environmental activities.

Senior experiencing or at-risk of experiencing a decline in mental health as a result of COVID isolation

Senior may be:

  • disconnected from family, friends, support networks and the community
  • lack of accessibility and transport
  • community and physical activities ceased
  • chronic disease
  • decline in physical strength
  • fear of COVID-19
  • low self-esteem

Next step

Identified in community by a trusted supporter

Can include:

  • general practitioner
  • aged care provider
  • health professional
  • social worker
  • emergency services
  • pharmacist
  • hospital staff

Next step

Referral and intake with Feros Care Wellbeing Coach

Includes:

  • assessment with validated tools
  • goal setting
  • co-design 'What Matters to Me' plan
  • motivational interviewing

Next step

Link and support

Community Network

  • social support groups
  • digital literacy
  • education
  • funded welfare services
  • environmental activities
  • art, craft, music and culture
  • community facilities (libraries)
  • volunteer opportunities and organisations
  • gardening and outdoors
  • faith and community groups
  • physical activity
  • health literacy

Outcomes for seniors

  • connection with family and friends
  • more active
  • healthier and back in control
  • better quality of life
  • improved mental health
  • better connected with community
  • improved confidence and self-esteem

Next step

Goals

Improved individual health outcomes

Reduce need for health services

Stronger and better connected communities

Back to start

What are the benefits for participants?

  • provides a person-centred and tailored approach, based on assessment and personalised goals
  • offers proven, sustainable mental health and wellbeing outcomes
  • empowers seniors, allowing them to take back control of their health
  • avoids the stigma of a mental health service
  • focuses on a person's strengths - "what I can do", rather than "what’s wrong with me"

Research suggests there are 40,000 seniors suffering problematic loneliness, across the hunter region, of which 34,000 receive no coordinated support.

Who is eligible for the program?

Australians aged 65 years or over (or 50 years and over for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders), who reside in the Newcastle or Lake Macquarie region, and:

  • are experiencing or at-risk of loneliness/ social isolation
  • have identified a decline in mental health as a result of isolation/loneliness
  • would benefit from stronger social and community connections
  • are seeking to reconnect with family friends and activities that have been lost

Is there a cost?

This program is FREE and of no charge to participants. The PHN have funded Feros Care to provide the Beating the COVID Blues program to older Australians in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie region.

Help isolated seniors Beat the COVID Blues