Seniors enjoy ‘virtual’ catch-ups during lockdown

By HBH - 13 June 2020

Seniors enjoy ‘virtual’ catch-ups during lockdown

One of the many benefits of joining Virtual Village East is that older people can remain at home and still stay connected with other seniors in the community, whatever happens. During the recent weeks of lockdown, that provided a real advantage for local seniors.

“Virtual Village East was set up in 2018 to connect and support seniors living at home, whether in person, online or by phone,” says CEO, Bonnie Robinson. “It’s designed that if someone is unwell or unable to drive, they can still keep in touch with others. This meant that during lockdown, we were able to put things in place very quickly to keep our members active and engaged.”

Alison, who joined Virtual Village East last year, says that even though they couldn’t meet in person, there was still so much going on during lockdown. “Every week, Lee (VVE’s Co-ordinator) would send us an email with videos of exercises and interesting activities we could do at home, links to wonderful art exhibitions, recipes specially for seniors, plus our monthly coffee group met via Zoom. I looked forward to the emails each Sunday as they were so lovely and chatty and full of interesting things for the week ahead,” she explains. 

Alison and her husband have lived in Pakuranga for 50 years and are still living in their own home. She says she hadn’t thought about joining Virtual Village East until her doctor mentioned it during a visit. “I went on to the website and liked what I saw, particularly that it provides a network for seniors who have chosen to remain in their homes.”

“I’ve come to know such interesting people who are all of a similar age – they have such fascinating stories. I go to the ‘Coffee and Catch-up’ mornings, plus Virtual Village East offers a range of information mornings and classes, such as ‘Safe and Strong’ exercises sessions for seniors. Initially, I hesitated to join as it was a new idea that seemed a bit different, but I’m so pleased I have.”

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Lisa Waldren