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Northern NSW Seniors are lost, lonely says survey

A RECENT survey of 115 community housing tenants from Coffs Harbour to Tweed Heads has revealed many seniors in northern NSW are missing out on services and support needed to stay at home as they get older.

The survey of people aged over 55 by non-profit provider Momentum Collective showed 98 per cent wanted to remain at home, half of them felt cut off from family and friends and a third had no idea how or where to access aged care services.

Momentum Collective CEO Karen Murphy said it was worrying that older people felt isolated and disconnected.

"It's important that people know about community services such as home-delivered meals, medical transport and home maintenance so they can remain independent for as long as possible," Ms Murphy said.

"Being supported to grow old at home is better for our health and happiness, as well as easing pressure on the aged care sector."

"Most of Momentum Collective's social and affordable housing clients live alone, which makes it vital that, before they become frail or unwell, they need to know about the resources and programs available to support healthy ageing at home."

Momentum Collective general manager for housing Colin Jones said regular social interaction was fundamental to a happy, healthy life.

"The survey highlighted how easy it is for older people to feel cut-off and alone - more than half don't communicate with their nearest and dearest each day," Mr Jones said.

"Many of those surveyed were also concerned about access to transport, citing difficulty with the condition of footpaths, funding safe and reliable public transport and accessible public parking."

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