The ‘Village without Walls’ aims to give older people living in the community the same companionship benefits as a retirement village, by creating a network of people, young-old and old-old, who can support each other and create new friendships and connections.
Howick Baptist Healthcare (HBH) and East Health Trust continue to work on developing the Village without Walls initiative for the Howick community.
The first information morning was held on Friday 11 May 2018 with a great level of interest. Findings from the recent community survey were presented to maintain whether a Village without Walls @ Howick would support older people to age well and overcome loneliness and social isolation.
Results indicated that there was a high level of interest in the concept, with loneliness, and health and transport being the main concerns. The virtual village will not duplicate existing services but rather work to fill gaps in services.
The key focus is on community building – introducing older people to each other so that they can form small communities of mutual support and friendship. Despite a range of services being available, many older people are ‘lonely in a crowd’ and a virtual village is designed to help overcome this by engaging people and helping one another.
Following the positive community feedback, the next step was to form an Establishment Group to take the concept to the next level.
The Establishment Group held its first meeting on Monday, July 2nd at HBH Senior Living. The group of interested people discussed the findings from the research, different options for structuring the Village and ideas to start to get the community involved and the Village underway. The group is considering these options and will meet again within the next month to finalise these initiatives.