A new community-led social connectedness program has been launched in the Hornby area to protect an ageing population from social isolation and loneliness.
The Hornsby Village Hub was launched by Sydney North Health Network (SNHN) in March in response to the increased prevalence of social isolation and loneliness among seniors in the area.
One in four Australians aged 65 and over lives alone, with 40 per cent admitting to more than one episode of loneliness.
In the Hornsby area, the over 55s population is set to rise by nearly 36 per cent over the next twenty years.
SNHN chief executive Lynelle Hales said the Hub aimed to nurture and support seniors, through a "connected, compassionate, community approach".
Members of the Hub will have access to a range of workshops, social and cultural activities.
"Being part of the Hub means members are an active part of their community," she said.
"Becoming involved in events and social activities... means you have greater opportunities to make friends and actively age, so you stay healthy and well."
Active Ageing expert and Geriatrician Susan Kurrle was on hand to help launch the Hub.
Speaking at the launch, Professor Kurrle said many became socially removed from those around them as they aged.
"It's normal to feel lonely at certain times in life, but long periods of loneliness or social isolation can impact our health,: Professor Kurrie said.
"Long periods of social isolation can be as bad as smoking, increasing our risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and premature death."
Membership aims to provide members with:
- A voice to help establish the Hub's activities and future direction.
- Connection and belonging through group and learning activities such as health and wellness programs and cultural, recreational and educational activities.
- Support through access to a community-based, volunteer peer support network.
- Enjoyment through opportunities to share your gifts and interests with other Hub members and the wider community.
- Confidence through assistance in navigating the Hub's community groups and services.
The Hub was launched in partnership with the Hornsby Shire Council, Fusion, Rotary Club of Hornsby District, PCYC, Ku-ring-gai Neighbourhood Centre, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital, Northern Sydney Local Health District Aboriginal Health Services, IABBV Hindi School, Women's Shed and Ku-ring-gai NSW Police Force.