Tackling social isolation one street at a time

Tackling social isolation one street at a time

A social networking tool developed by Bolton Clarke’s design innovation team to break social isolation has won QUT’s Senior Living Innovation Challenge.

The challenge is part of QUT’s Senior Living Innovation industry partnership with Bolton Clarke and other major aged care and retirement living providers.

The One Good Street initiative, created by Bolton Clarke design integration lead Matiu Bush, uses social networking to give neighbours the opportunity to offer knowledge, assistance and skills for older people and their carers through a supported platform that includes positive ageing activities and education. A street accreditation process provides a way of rewarding neighbours for their participation.

The concept was developed in response to research and feedback from frontline At Home Support teams who identified the issue of social isolation as a significant factor affecting the wellbeing of clients.

Bolton Clarke community initiative

One Good Street initiative creator Matiu Bush

Matiu said One Good Street, based on the successful neighbourhood Good Karma Networks, was part of an urban renewal movement championing neighbour-initiated care.

“From starting an Air Con Club to help older residents during the heat, to sharing aged care equipment through tool libraries, to casserole clubs that provide nutrition and connection, One Good Street inspires and empowers neighbours to make a real difference in the lives of older people,” he said.

“It includes a feature that allows older people with similar interests who are feeling isolated to connect with each other within their local area. They are encouraged to spend one day or more in each other’s company, reducing the amount of services they require and giving family carers a break.

“Looking after the adult children of older people as they strive to keep their parents at home for as long as possible is one way we can make a difference.

“The project also drives accreditation and referral pathways for local business as well, so if 10-15 per cent of a street signs up it could receive One Good Street accreditation.”

The project was chosen from six finalists including a robotic arm that can be remotely controlled to provide help around the home, an app supporting better balance and falls reduction education, an entrepreneurial space for older people, an intergenerational community space model and a design model that integrates housing for older people into suburban planning, outside of dedicated communities.

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