Planning for retirement has always been associated with, discussed and planned for in terms of finances but rarely ever in terms of the social aspects of retirement and how to avoid isolation and loneliness.
Today, the forum, Hono Mai Te Ora – Connection Brings Life, sought to address the matter of social isolation and loneliness as we age. While everyone may experience loneliness or isolation at times during their lives, isolation is becoming more prevalent as we age, to the point where individuals, families and friends need to discuss and plan for reducing social isolation which can occur due to location remoteness, physical and mental wellbeing, loss of independence through not being able to drive, loss of loved ones and many other reasons also.
Bonnie Robinson, a member of the Global Women Breakthrough Leaders 2018 Cohort who hosted Hono Mai Te Ora and the CEO of Howick Catholic Healthcare Ltd comments “Science is now showing us that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking, and that our body experiences real pain when we are isolated. On the flip side, being socially connected means we live longer. So it’s really important that we enable people to remain as connected as possible as they grow older.”
An online retirement planning resource called “Hono Mai” was launched today with the key purpose of creating simple access to information on staying connected and maintaining a healthy social life as we age.
The easy to use tool and simple interface connects uses with information on topics such as transport, employment, technology, and friends as well as providing useful insights, links and questions to ask. The tool can be accessed at https://honomai.springload.co.nz/
Billie Jordan (NZME; Hip Hop Operation) was a panellist at today’s forum and commented that Hono Mai is a wonderful tool that will make such a positive contribution. “I cannot wait to share the website with senior citizens up and down the Country; it’s about time we had a one-stop shop for all the relevant information.”
Today’s forum and the online tool were created as part of the 2018 Global Women Breakthrough Leadership Programme, where the Breakthrough Leaders are asked as a cohort to complete a community project, to address an issue the cohort believes would benefit the NZ community with the added challenge of including a digital component to the community benefit.
The 2018 cohort sought to focus on the issue of loneliness and social isolation as the cohort believe this to be an issue that is of increasing concern within our community.
Many thanks to the panel members who contributed to today’s discussion:
Stephanie Clare – CEO – Age Concern New Zealand
Jacqui Maquire – Managing Director – Umbrella Limited
Billie Jordan (NZME) – Hip Hop Operation
Hilda Johnson-Bogaerts – Director – Selwyn Institute
Kevin Allen – Mental Health Commissioner
Debra Lampshire – Experience Based Expert, University of Auckland
Diane Maxwell – Retirement Commissioner
Hamish Crookes (MNZM) – CEO – Pacific Homecare