R U OK: Retirement village residents gather in safe space
MINUTES is all it takes to check in on someone and it just might save a life.
As part of R U OK Day, residents from Bundaberg's Ingenia Gardens gathered in the village's common room to socialise and open up with another.
Village manager Stephanie Dobbin said it was the first event the local retirement home had held since the COVID-19 lockdown occurred.
"We usually go a lot bigger than this for R U OK Day, but with the restrictions in place, we still need to make sure everyone is socially distancing and safe," Ms Dobbin said.
"Out of all the events we hold for the residents, this is always the one with the best turn out and I really think that's saying something … it's such a worthy cause."
The village manager who is also an ambassador for R U OK Day shared some statistics with the group, illustrating the importance of the annual event.
"Asking someone if they are OK is a really serious question, especially for us because men aged 70 and older are the most at risk of suicide," Ms Dobbin said.
"So if you notice someone isn't acting themselves or maybe sitting alone somewhere, ask them if they are OK and make sure you listen to what they say."
Bundaberg's Ingenia Gardens has held an event on R U OK Day for four consecutive years, where residents are encouraged to share personal experiences in a safe space, reach out to others and engage with one another.
The powerful message has come at no better time with many reports across the country of elderly Australians feeling isolated, anxious and depressed after they were separated from loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents at Ingenia enjoyed handmade sausage rolls, sandwiches and custard tarts, while adhering to social distancing restrictions.
Following lunch, participants played trivia, beer pong without the beer and shared jokes with the group.
Click here to see the online gallery with more pictures from the event.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36.