A new networking site aims to connect seniors through an online community, and researchers are seeking volunteers to help test it.
Seniors Connect allows participants to create their own user profiles and connect with others via group chats and personal messaging.
Led by Allison Boyes from the University of Newcastle and the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), the team believes the online community will offer advantages over traditional telephone and face to face support networks.
Dr Boyes said advantages of online connectedness include accessibility, autonomy, anonymity, and access to a larger, more diverse group of people.
"As a society, we are acutely aware that poor social connectivity and loneliness have significant effects on people's wellbeing and health, with loneliness emerging as an important issue facing older people," Dr Boyes said.
Dr Boyes said if the trial proves the community to be effective, it could be made available in the aged care, mental health and community service sectors.
The team is looking for volunteers who are aged 65 or older, living at home, can read and write English and have access to the internet.
Volunteers will be asked to complete three surveys over a six month period to help determine if the online support is effective in promoting mental health and wellbeing.
All volunteers will receive a $30 gift voucher after completion of the final survey.
For more information call 1800-084-755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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