AGED CARE: Victorians in nursing homes are needed for valuable research project.
AGED CARE: Victorians in nursing homes are needed for valuable research project.

Friends for Befriend research needed in Victoria

RESIDENTIAL age care residents and providers in Victoria are needed to help with the National Ageing Research Institute's Befriend program.

These volunteers are needed for the clinical trial of the innovative program which is aimed at reducing depression and anxiety of people living in aged care facilities.

NARI has received such an overwhelming number of responses to its initial call for volunteer Befrienders that it is now ready to talk to providers and residents.

Program leader, NARI's Professor Colleen Doyle, said she is looking to sign up about 500 residents in Melbourne and regional and rural Victoria who are interested in assisting with the research.

NARI will provide trained and supervised Befriender volunteers who will visit residents weekly over the trial period of four months.

"Befriending involves having a conversation with a person about everyday topics and events in a friendly way without discussing health problems or emotions," she said.

NARI is looking at whether extra social support can influence the symptoms of depression, anxiety or loneliness which occurs at high levels in people living in residential aged care.

"This may be because of individual physical health factors, high prevalence of grief and loss among the residents, or the social environment," Dr Doyle said.

"Many residents are socially isolated in residential aged care even though they are in communal living, and social isolation is a contributor to depression." 

For more information, phone Marcia Fearn at NARI on (03) 8387 2305 or by email to m.fearn@nari.edu.au.