Created just over 12 months ago, Chirpy Plus is the brainchild of Carol and Shaun Mahoney, a mother and son team who joined forces six years ago in the field of technology. The pair spied an opportunity to help prevent loneliness and social isolation in people aged over 55 and developed an online platform that provides a safe, moderated environment designed to facilitate offline introductions, networks and friendships. Too often, technology is to blame for disconnection – the irony of over half of all Australian and New Zealanders expressing feelings of loneliness and social isolation in the age of ‘connectivity’ was not lost on the Mahoney’s.
With many studies continuing to show a connection between loneliness and a range of negative health issues, Shaun and Carol could see that a unique approach was required in order to make a positive impact on the wellbeing of this fast-growing sector.
A lack of companionship quickly leads to feelings of social isolation and anxiety. Combatting loneliness is decidedly personal, but research proposes the best option to be meaningful social contact. And it’s contact that needs to be regularly maintained in order to get the most benefits, for optimal emotional and social well-being. And so Chirpy Plus was created with face-to-face social contact at the epicentre of their vision.
Chirpy Plus currently has over 20,000 members across Australia and New Zealand who benefit from all the features of the platform such as Chirpy Hosted Catch Up groups, Chirpy Chats, Chirpy Cruises and Travel, along with News, Wellness (they research worldwide for the best tips on health), Events and Stories all curated especially for people over the age of 55 to ensure relevance.
Chirpy Catch Ups are curated for members safety, allowing them to connect with like-minded people in the real world. Events are hosted by a Chirpy Host who has been specifically trained and screened. Other membership benefits include Forums, Rewards & Discounts with Chirpy Coins, and Chirpy’s SOS Alert Application, providing peace of mind for families and loved ones, it will alert up to 3 people in a second with just 2 clicks on a mobile phone device that the person needs help.
With a state-of-the-art geographical mapping system that allows members to clearly see all the other members in the area surrounding them, they can easily message people, request a coffee and organise to meet up. Interestingly, 90% of current Chirpy members are female and regional areas of Australia are proving hugely popular for the platform.