Bridging the communication
between elderly and the younger generation


Understanding The Problem


Social isolation and Loneliness in Older People

• There are 1.2 million chronically lonely seniors in the U.K.

(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.


Negative Impact


• poor diet

• lack of physical activity

• smoking


• quicker cognitive decline 

• dementia

• poor cognitive performance 

• a higher risk of mortality

• long-term illnesses


• Depression


Understanding Communication

Activity 1:

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.

Activity 2:

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.



Define the Direction

Problem Space

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.


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.


Idea Development

Print & Scan device idea

• The device built a connection between the different generations. The Elderly adopted volunteering as a way to communicate with the younger generation. The device was located at community centers or libraries. It allowed them to ask a question when they were lost or confused. Then, each senior who had a device provided feedback and help to the younger generation.

Target Users

• Younger generation at library/community center
• Elderly (target age: 60-80) at home / nursing house

Design Refinement


Co-Creation Activity with Elderly

For the elderly users, this handy size device is provided with an easy user experience design. It must be simple to learn and use, es- pecially as some elderly people can have learning impairments or disabilities. By simply tapping on the top white part, the function of printing the younger generation designed card will be activated. Then, the elderly can hand-write their response and slide it back to the device. It will scan and send the content back as similar as a fax machine.

• Survey in the nursing house
• User scenario simulated with senior