The Problem Space
Social isolation and Loneliness in Older People
Our secondary research suggests that we need to raise awareness about mental health issues among the elderly.
By looking at UK, there are 1.2 million chronically lonely seniors.
(Age U.K. 2016, No one should have no one)
(Office for National Statistics 2010. General Lifestyle Survey 2008)
Two fifths all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their leading company.
(Age, U.K., 2014. Evidence Review: Loneliness in Later Life. London: Age U.K.)
There are over 2.2 million people aged 75 and over living alone in Great Britain - over half of that demographic (51%), an increase of almost a quarter (24%) over the past 20 years.
There is a severe negative impact on both physical and mental habits as a result.
• poor diet
• lack of physical activity
• quicker cognitive decline
• poor cognitive performance
• a higher risk of mortality
• long-term illnesses
Define the Direction
How might we provide an accompaniment to the elderly by bridging the generational gap between the younger and older generations.
To provide a solution for loneliness
To give the elderly a way to communicate with the community.
To make the platform simple and easy to use.
Communicate Through a Styrofoam Cup
The cups were connected through a thread to transmit our voices. One of us held one side of the connected cup, with the other designer on the receiving/other side and talked to each other.
Paper Drawing Activity
Each of the invited participants drew a folded session of a piece of paper. A new drawing was created after folding out all the sections to show the whole collaborative picture.
These activities showed how tools create different experiences of communication compared to the typical talking scenarios, like a conversation. In this case, the power of communication could be brought back while it was eliminated initially by distance. However, the participants couldn’t feel each other’s emotions as easily because there was no face to face conversation.
12 in-depth interviews with stakeholders were conducted
The aim of this study was to understand how elderly think about reaching out to others, how younger people think about volunteering, the challenges they face, and how we can support them.
Age 65 ~ 84
To study how often does elderly ever feel isolated and in what ways they wish for companionship.
Age 18 ~ 30
To study in what ways would young people be interested in providing companionship to elderly people as part of their social volunteer work?
To highlight the key insights from the user interviews, we used empathy map as a tool to analyze the information collected from the interview.
Can volunteering be a solution?
1. Volunteering connects you to others
It decreases your risk of depression through social interac- tion. It helps to build a better sense of community engage- ment based on the dedicated commitment to others. Both of which have been shown to decrease depression.
2. Volunteering effects the able-body
People with disabilities or chronic health conditions can benefit greatly from volunteering. Research has shown that adults with disabilities or health conditions ranging from hearing and vision loss to heart disease, diabetes, or diges- tive disorders all show improvement after volunteering.