Virtual Village East - A Network of Friendship and Support for Seniors
29 Jul 2019
No one wants to move out of their home, but the reality is that as we get older, some things inevitably become more difficult to do. To remain active, fulfilled and independent, it’s important to stay connected with your community and sometimes, to have a little support from others as well. That’s the thinking behind an innovative new local network for older people: Virtual Village East.
Virtual Village East is an age-friendly network of mutual support and friendship to help older people in the East Auckland community connect with each other, live independently and enjoy life.
As the name suggests, it’s not a physical village. Rather, it’s a local neighbourhood of like-minded people who look out for one another, help each other out, get together regularly and enjoy companionship, friendship and fun.
Members stay active and connected through a range of activities, events and gatherings designed specifically for seniors, as well as neighbour-to-neighbour services to help each other out. Put simply, you get to enjoy many of the benefits of a retirement village, from the comfort of your own home.
“Virtual Village East connects members with each other and with the resources we all need to remain active and independent while ageing in our homes. Think of it as the old-fashioned village,” says Barbara Davis, Virtual Village East Establishment Committee member.
Virtually as good as a retirement village.
Research shows that the main benefits of living in a retirement village are companionship and support. However, many older people either don’t want or can’t afford to live in a retirement village. Virtual Village East is designed to help local seniors age well at home by nurturing physical, mental and emotional wellbeing through:
Connecting seniors with existing events and activities
Virtual Village East connects seniors with opportunities to be active and involved - and enjoy companionship and friendship - by participating in community groups, local activities and events with people who have similar interests.
Hosting Virtual Village East events and activities
The Village also hosts regular events for seniors, such as morning teas, walks, outings or our popular monthly drop-in café. These are age-friendly events, meaning that they’re especially designed for older people, though if needed, we can support you to participate. We also hold information mornings to learn about topics of interest - such as transport options or ageing well.
Easy access to local support services
Virtual Village East assists seniors to access helpful resources and support services within the area, such as age-friendly transport, home help or gardening services.
Neighbour-to-Neighbour support services
The Village is also planning to set up neighbour-to-neighbour services, where members support each other in ways that they can - just as they would if they lived in a real village. Things like helping each other out with tasks such as gardening, driving, dog walking or household chores. This enables seniors to use their skills to help others, or to find someone to help with a job that they can’t do themselves. It’s a great way to help each other keep busy, useful and fulfilled!
Virtual Village East is a community, not-for-profit organisation initiated by HBH Senior Living and supported by East Health Trust. It is one of the first networks of its kind in New Zealand. Based on a model of Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities founded in Boston, USA, Virtual Village East is a formative member of the international Village-to-Village Network.