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Whether older and infirm Australians get to meet up with friends, family or organised visitors is a big factor in reducing loneliness and isolation. In turn, say experts, this has positive flow-on effects for their mental health.

So much so that formal companionship programs – such as this one featured by ABC Online in New South Wales’ Hunter region, another highlighted by Triple J Hack in South Australia and a variety run around the country by Red Cross – are blossoming.

For others living independently, having a pet provides daily companionship. Sometimes, all it needs is a helping hand to make that happen, says Queensland’s Animal Welfare League which runs the Golden Hearts Seniors Pet Support Program.

Conversation starter

Have you – or someone for whom you care – found loneliness and isolation an issue? Was companionship able to be arranged? What issues made it easy or complicated?

Have your say on aged care-2