New online tool helps seniors stay connected

By HBH - 6 March 2019

New online tool helps seniors stay connected

In 2018, HBH Senior Living’s CEO, Bonnie Robinson, participated in the Global Women Breakthrough Leaders Programme. Just 30 women leaders across New Zealand are selected for this intensive year-long journey of discovery, learning and development.

Bonnie’s cohort undertook a community project as a part of the programme, so Bonnie pitched the idea of creating an online tool to help prevent loneliness in older people – and her idea was voted in as the project the group would work on.

The end result is Hono Mai, a clever digital tool that works in the same way as many financial planning tools do – but rather than planning the financial side of retirement, the tool enables people to plan for the social side of their old age. The purpose is to help prevent loneliness by encouraging people to plan ahead and maintain their social connections though retirement and beyond.

“Many of us plan for our ‘young-old’ years when we retire,” says Bonnie, “but few of us plan ahead for our ‘old-old’ years. These days, more of us are living well into our 80s and 90s, so it’s important to think through how to remain connected in these later years, when health issues or life events are more likely to affect us. You might assume that loneliness won’t be a problem because you have family or whanau for support or companionship, but often they’re busy due to family or work commitments – so it helps to have other social connections within your community.”

Hono Mai provides a resource for older people, their families, whanau and other caregivers to help plan for their ‘social old age’, with helpful prompts, links to relevant websites and a range of resources to help you plan ahead. HBH Senior Living is hosting this tool as part of their commitment to helping older people overcome the ‘three plagues of aging’ – loneliness, helplessness and boredom – so that they can lead healthier, happier, more fulfilling lives.

Says Bonnie, “I’m thrilled to play a part in creating this life-changing new tool. Loneliness and social isolation have been proven to be a real issue for older people. Hono Mai is designed to help you stay connected to others in ways that are meaningful for you, to ensure you continue to have enough support and social contact to live fulfilling and connected lives.”

Lisa Waldren