Social connectedness

When reablement services work well, older people can take care of themselves independently. This often leads to less visits by carers and family which can increase the risk of social isolation and feelings of loneliness. [1] For many older people receiving aged care, their functional and cognitive abilities may cause them to be isolated from their family and friends. This can have negative impacts on their health and quality of life. [2] Reablement approaches that consider and support opportunities for older people to socialise and connect with others are important. These social activities often motivate older people to participate with physical and social activities. To incorporate social connectedness into aged care, services may want to consider the following: 

  • Social engagement and participation- Engaging with other people and participating in activities is important for an older adult’s wellbeing. Feeling socially connected encourages individuals to participate in activities and explore new interests or hobbies. Aged care services that integrate engaging social activities and opportunities may support reablement and motive older adults to participate in meaningful activities. 

  • Motivation and self-esteem – Social activities can act to boost motivation and the self-esteem of older adults. When older people receive encouragement, praise, and feedback from others they are more like to continue to believe in their abilities and work to regain their independence. 

  • Psychological wellbeing – Older adults who are socially connected and supported by others often experience improved psychological wellbeing. Having people to talk to provides companionship, a sense of belonging, and emotional support that can work to reduce and prevent depression. Psychological wellbeing is an important component of reablement for aged care services to consider.

To support you to deliver reablement that considers social, and community support the following resources might be useful:

Want to know more?

If you require more information on the reablement approach and how to implement it in aged care:

  1. Visit our evidence themes on Social isolation and Meaningful lifestyle activities.
  2. Look for research evidence within the PubMed database by using one of the PubMed searches provided here. PubMed contains brief information (‘citations’) on millions of research studies. It can therefore be challenging to search. Our librarian has made finding highly relevant information on this topic as simple as a click of a button. Click on All to see everything in the database on the topic or choose Full text to view only articles immediately available to you free of charge in full text.

Connect to PubMed evidence

If you wish to find out more about reablement in aged care, try using one of the PubMed searches below. These links (all or full text) take you to the relevant research literature in the large international PubMed database.

  1. Aspinal F, Glasby J, Rostgaard T, Tuntland H, Westendorp RGJ. New horizons: Reablement - supporting older people towards independence. Age Ageing. 2016;45(5):574-578.
  2. Suragarn U, Hain D, Pfaff G. Approaches to enhance social connection in older adults: An integrative review of literature. Aging Health Res. 2021;1(3):100029.
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