A new resource to provide the community with simple access to information to help stay connected, maintain a healthy social life and arrest the growing issue of loneliness as we age was launched last week in Auckland at an event run by the Global Women Breakthrough Leaders 2018 Cohort

Hono Mai – Connection With Us, is an easy to use free online tool that brings together, for the first time, information, advice and useful links on topics such as transport, employment, technology, housing, physical life and friends and family – often the areas that perpetuate issues of isolation as people migrate from working life to retirement.

Bonnie Robinson, chief executive of HBH Senior Living Ltd and a member of the Global Women Breakthrough Leaders 2018 Cohort, says Hono Mai was conceived to fill a gap in planning for our retirement beyond what’s in our bank accounts to what’s in our hearts and heads.

“Science now shows us that loneliness is as bad for our 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, healthier and more fulfilling lives. It’s therefore really important that we enable people to remain as connected as possible as they grow older, and Hono Mai is one way to do this,” says Robinson.

“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.”

Hono Mai was launched at a community event at Te Mahurehure Marae, Pt Chevalier, with a panel of aged care and aging well, mental health and retirement leaders discussing the importance of planning for social connectedness in retirement.

Billie Jordan, MNZM and Hip Op-eration founder, was one panellist who believes Hono Mai is a wonderful tool that will make a positive contribution to older people but also the wider community.

“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.”

Industry leaders on the panel included Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell, Mental Health Commissioner Kevin Allan, Age Concern chief executive Stephanie Clare, Umbrella Ltd managing director Jacqui Maguire, Hip Op-eration’s Billie Jordan, Selwyn Institute director Hilda Johnson-Bogaerts, University of Auckland’s Debra Lampshire, and Pacific Homecare chief executive.Hamish Crookes.

The tool can be accessed at Hono Mai and was made possible thanks to sponsorship by Springload, Te Hau Ora O Ngapuhi, HBH Senior Living, Bupa, Ngai Tahu Farming, Tower Insurance and Securely.

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