Rethinking Group Social Support | KeepAble
Many of the individuals who join group social activities within CHSP social centres (formally known as Centre-based Day Care) have previously created and belonged to a ‘social life‘ of their choice which may have been comprised of a social network of one other person or have been a network of many.

The setting may have been part of a community group, within a home or online with an individual, or both. Whatever their ‘social life’ looked like and however they participated, as a provider of CHSP Group Social Support, there is an opportunity to explore with the individual their desire to re-join or recreate the ‘social life’ of their choice.

Circumstances resulting in why the individual has been referred to your social group are just as varied as the number of people themselves.  For many, there has been significant change/s to their physical, cognitive, or psychosocial ability which is having an impact on their ability to continue connecting and participating within their social network. Or for others, it may be that they truly want to join another social group to complement their current social network, or their previous social network no longer exists. Whatever the reason CHSP providers of group social support are well placed to meet the different aspirations of individuals.

Elderly-group-having-a-walk
By reframing the intent of social support groups there is an opportunity to assist those individuals who wish to reconnect with their social networks.

Providing such opportunities would give clients back some control while working toward re-joining the social network/s they experienced prior to their circumstances changing. Providing them with an opportunity to reconnect to the community in which they have lived and not be separated due to their change in circumstances. Clients would continue to socialise on their own terms, not only how but on the days and time of the week that they prefer.

There are many positives for a client who has regained the ability to connect with their social circles independently and without having to rely on formal support, often seeing the confidence gained in this area of their life has an impact in other areas, such as their mobility or overall feeling of wellbeing. For an organisation who provides group social support, they may view the exiting of client who has regained this ability as a negative, although, it should be seen as an opportunity to be able to support a greater amount of people, who have individual social aspirations all of which add to the culture and growth of the program.

The many positives for individuals re-joining their previous social networks cannot be ignored and as a provider, supporting clients to achieve such outcomes would place your organisation amongst the leaders of achieving exceptional client outcomes.  

Support worker and clients doing a jigsaw
Elderly lady with her carer
It starts with a conversation and getting to understand what is important to the individual

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