One of the saddest statistics I've heard in recent times is that 50% of people across Australia aged 70 or more are by definition clinically depressed.
Just think about that: one in two older Australians struggle to appreciate the positive aspects of living in this beautiful country.
Why is this so? Obviously there are many reasons but research repeatedly points to isolation and loneliness as being one of the largest contributors.
Depression can come about for any number of reasons as we age but obviously losing a spouse, separation due to health or the loss of the old neighbourhood as people move away can lead to a sense of isolation and loneliness.
The increasing challenge of getting to the shops as we stop driving doesn't help.
Here at villages.com.au we obviously believe in retirement villages and one of the major reasons is their power to overcome loneliness and isolation. This has been demonstrated to us time and time again with residents we've interviewed and research we've conducted.
It is easy to understand. In a village you have one or two hundred people all of a similar age, often of a similar background, all with a full life of experiences to fall back on. Plus they've got the time to take an interest in you. In a village most people make new, real friends. What a wonderful thing for people in their 70s and 80s.
But don't take our word for it. Hear what these people have to say.
Many of the men that we've interviewed have said that an important part of their life plan, knowing that men pass away on average five years earlier than women, is to set up their wife in a supportive community. It's good advice - when they've gone, their wife doesn’t have to face isolation and the challenge of rebuilding a life on her own.
The most common advice given by residents of a retirement village is to make the move sooner rather than later. Not only is it easier but it gives more time to build these important and satisfying relationships.
The idea is not to be in the half of Australians over 70 years of age who are clinically depressed.
The idea is to age well.