It is estimated that 52% of people living in residential aged care facilities have significant depression symptoms and a higher prevalence of older people in residential care have major depressive disorder compared to those living in the community.  The goal of this research is to reduce rates of depression, anxiety, loneliness and increase social support in people living in residential aged care through befriending.

What is the BEFRIENDAS study?Photo of BEFRIENDAS Participants

The BEFRIENDAS study is a randomised controlled trial that is investigating the impact of befriending, provided by trained volunteers, on levels of depression, anxiety, social support and loneliness in older people living in residential aged care. It is funded by the NHMRC and Beyond Blue.

What is befriending?

Befriending involves having a regular conversation with a person about everyday topics and events in a friendly way without discussing health problems or emotions. The befriending sessions will be weekly for 4 months and can happen face-to-face, over the telephone or via video calls.

“I think it’s made me a little bit better…when there’s no one around I used to just sit there and do nothing. Not talk to anybody or anything…I’ll really tell you, she’s very very helpful. Oh yeah (made me feel) much better…I always ask her when she’s coming back” - BEFRIENDAS participant

BEFRIENDAS Project Summary