52% of the Starts at 60 community face this problem… Do you? 188



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Last week we published a story that touched our hearts. A woman wrote in with an incredibly personal story that she wanted to share. After sitting alone on Christmas Day, she realised that while her children visited their father, her ex-husband, that she was totally alone. She had no friends to go to and no other family she could see. Every day we speak to someone in the Starts at 60 community who is feeling the sadness of isolation and loneliness so we conducted a survey to see how widespread the issue was. To be entirely honest, the results shocked us.

We asked four simple questions about your social habits, the results of these questions made us realise that isolation in the older demographic is a very real problem.

Over 52% of the people in the community don’t remember the last time they made a new friend. A further 31% said that it was over one year ago.

60% of the community said they aren’t part of an established social group and a further 57% of people said they don’t know where to go in their local community to meet new people.

As we get older, our lives change and so to do our friendships. We move all over the country or the world and see people less frequently. We have to face increasing health problems that sadly force us to say goodbye too early and too soon. We have years of relationships with our own family – we’ve gone through divorce, which has changed our social circles.

But even though we have lived through so much, there is no reason that we shouldn’t be able to meet new people, there is no reason that we shouldn’t be able to make new friends.

Starts at 60 wants to stop the isolation. We want over 60s to feel connected and supported – by old friends and new. This is why each month we bring people together at our coffee events. With The Coffee Club, we are trying to end loneliness in older Australians.

This month on February 17, we want you to find your nearest registered Coffee Club and at 10am, turn up to meet new people. You don’t have to stay for long, you can bring other friends too! You just have to pre-purchase a Coffee and cake and bring a smile.

We’ve hosted these events twice now and the feedback we’ve had has been beautiful. This February we want these events to be bigger than ever before, but to do that we need you and your support.

We hope to see you there on February 17 because even though you might not need new friends, you could be the new friend someone else needs.


To find your nearest Coffee Meetup and register, please click here or head to www.startsatsixty.com.au/events 

We hope to see you celebrating the over 60 life with other over 60s on February 17 2015.


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  1. Sure….modern “times” means that more marriages end where once they might have remained “intact” till death. When my first husband and I separated the kids were 12 and 7. The first Christmas was incredibly painful. Even now, 26 years later, Christmas is not a time I savour. And with my daughter also having been through a divorce (with 50/50 custody of the kids, even on Christmas Day – i.e. half a day each !!!) I am often faced with a lonely Christmas (family wise). I used to love Christmas so much when I was a child (wasn’t aware of the dreadful dynamic between my parents who later separated) but nowadays I almost dread it. Other holidays too, but for me Christmas is the worst.

    5 REPLY
    • It’s tough, Sue Donelly. I have a second husband, and I too have a great life. But Christmases (and children’s and grand-children’s birthdays) are tough because of all the “splits”, the ex’s and extra grandparents. And very different values as well. Take heart….and hugs from me to you.

    • I could not agree more…it seems the harder we or i try at Christmas its dismal all round…i very rarely get to see my grandkids at christmas in fact ive never spent one christmas with my eldest and she is 11 yet she spends it with her other grandparents….ive got to the point where i can no longer be bothered. .i would just like to do my thing..its far less complicated…yes older person isolation is a huge issue and i guess we dont speak up enough about it…

    • I know what you’re saying. As a child it was “go to your room and play with your presents”! In my first marriage I spent most Christmases alone. In my second marriage, while I am with my husband, all the children and the grandchildren live overseas, and we can’t afford to go to them. Their partners want to stay near their own families, so we are very left out, though they do usually contact us. My dream was a “family Christmas” all my life, but it just didn’t happen!

  2. Coffee Club= good idea. 10am= bad idea.

    3 REPLY
    • A pity it’s Tuesday as that’s the only morning I actually get out and do something. Anyone around Maroochydore want to do coffee on another morning?

    • in the arvo would be much better,,say around 1pm too 3pm,,and CAKE,,yummo.

    • I cant understand why anyone would want to go out at 10am, and as I live in a dairy farming community no-one can understand why I take the phone off the hook so I can sleep from about 1am 10.30am.
      All the grown up stuff is on TV after 11pm news. However there are many evening things to go to and meet new friends if the first step is taken.

  3. We must wait for people to come to us. Get out and meet people, join groups that us how we have met friends. Toastmasters was a great club to join we have made lovely caring friends there.

  4. I’m divorced but my ex husband and I still get together with the family Christmas day. After all its all about family and not about us. We decided right from the beginning it wouldn’t affect our family celebrations.

  5. We made a big move from Townsville to Brisbane. Knew no one so G volunteered at the library and we joined a caravan club. The caravan club isn’t too big so easy to get to know members. We go away five days each month and have visited some really beautiful parts of S.E. Qld. Thoroughly recommend this action. Made some great friends.

  6. I think we chose our friends in a different manner as we age , are we less tolerant for example? Do we acquire more prejudice as we age ( I would like to think not) but life can leave bitterness where before there was none. It takes several years of acquaintance before I feel comfortable to be able to call a person “friend” , whereas a five year old makes a best friend in a nano second . I don’t know the answer but the few true friends I have I value very highly

  7. Moving into a retirement Village hope this changes our out look on meeting people , and making trips and things come good

  8. I have been on my own for the last 28 years, have a group of friends mostly couples, however I meet new people every couple of days, being male all I have to do is go somewhere for a beer and in no time a conversation starts, same when I go on holidays by myself.

  9. I have moved around a lot, been through a divorce and you gradually lose contact with many people. In the last ten years or so my circle of friends were mainly work colleagues. I have just retired but so far I’m good. Trouble is I find with less time left I don’t want to waste it with people who are not interested in the things I am now finding myself getting very opinionated about. (I won’t open that can of worms here!) I’ve less energy and a lot of food allergies too so can’t cope with dinner parties etc. You know, I just enjoy being friendly with the people I come in contact with during the day and seeing my family which is small. The Coffee Club idea is lovely though and I fully support it.

    1 REPLY
    • I started taking my mother in law to bingo and have met so many people. Love it and play social tennis with a group of ladies also.

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