Why create a Virtual Village?
Loneliness is now understood to be a major health issue affecting older people’s physical and psychological wellbeing. In fact, research shows chronic loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking!
We also know from research that one of the main benefits retirement villages offer is companionship. However, many older people either don’t want to or can’t afford to live in a retirement village.
The Virtual Village East initiative aims to create a network of people who can support each other to age well. We know that Howick already has a very strong community, so it’s not intended to duplicate existing services – rather to assist people to connect with each other, fill gaps where there are no services, and most importantly, create new networks of friendship and support for older people who need them.
The Virtual Village East is intended to be a member-driven and self-funding organisation. In this initial stage it is being administered by HBH Senior Living and has received support from East Health Trust Primary Health Organisation and the Howick Local Board.
In 2018 a Community Survey was conducted in Howick to ascertain the level of interest for a virtual village. Read the report.