Thinking of You

Thinking of You

Demographics for the elderly in Denmark are changing rapidly. With a large increase in the number of elderly in need of care, the caregiver’s resources will be put under even greater strain. Technology is suggested as part of a solution but how can it help relieve feelings of loneliness, isolation and lack of contact with the everyday life that the elderly person used to know?

The starting point was an in-depth research into life at a elderly centre learning about everyday life and the aches and pain that trouble the residents physically as well as mentally. The opening question being: “How can the quality of life for elderly in a nursing centre be improved?”

This month-long research included observations, interviews and a 36-hour stretch trying to get under the skin of day-to-day life – sharing focus between caregivers and receivers. It revealed a number of areas ripe with design opportunities. The issue of loneliness was prevalent, so going forward, attention for this project would be focused there. Two major and maybe even banal insights were that: for some, TV seems to be sole source of entertainment and contact with the outside world; and conversation with the elderly showed that there was a need for more contact with next of kin.

The final application/service solution is “Thinking of You” which aims to bring the elderly closer to their next of kin by allowing family members to send personal content from their PC to be displayed on the TV of the elderly in the nursing centre. This enables the elderly to stay in touch with their loved ones without putting strain on next of kin or nursing staff. It also holds the promise of use as a therapy tool. The intention is for this application/service to continue in to development and implementation, beyond the scope of this project.