Just the second of its kind in Australia, the Village Hub is a community club being run by social housing provider Connect Victoria Park in southeast Perth to help older people live independently at home for longer.
How does it work?
Members pay an annual fee of $40 to access a range of classes and courses including ballroom dancing, tai chi, chair yoga, Nordic pole walking and social cycling, as well as a book club, community lunches, monthly coach trips, craft and gardening groups and more.
The Hub, which has seven staff, also offers a tech centre to give people one-on-one help with online tasks such as navigating the Government’s MyAgedCare or MyGov websites and applying for home care packages, enduring power of attorney and other applications.
In addition, members have access to a portal of resources on ageing and a place to request help with small tasks from other members or volunteers at the Hub.
Staying at home – with help
It’s inspired by the ‘ageing in place’ village movement, which started in the United States. It’s best known example is the Beacon Hill ‘village’ in Boston, which was founded back in 2002 when a group of local over-50 residents wanted to set up an organisation to help them ‘age in place’.
Today nearly 400 members pay an annual fee between US$675 and US$975 for a ‘one-stop shop’ of services such as home maintenance, health care and transport plus social get-togethers and day trips that is organised by the ‘village office’.
While the Village Hub isn’t quite on the same scale, there is demand for its services. Since it opened in January, 185 members have signed up.
We like the idea. We know that keeping your brain and body fit – and staying connected to others – is the key to healthy ageing.
Anything that helps people do that has got to be a good thing.