Eat Together

Create a sense of togetherness in the food eaten alone

The world is ageing.

According to the United Nations, the population of elderly is expected to double to two billion by 2050. In Denmark, half of the elderly population is malnourished. A striking commonality amongst them is that they live alone.

Eating alone is unpleasant and demotivating, and it drives a vicious cycle of poor eating habits and health deterioration. By contrast, social opportunities stimulate a healthy appetite by creating interest in food. However, current social eating opportunities for the elderly are unsavory – putting old people with other old people creates a stigma of ‘old’ amongst the old, who are already less open to meeting new people.

Eat Together is a food and friendship delivery service that capitalises on the existing meals-on-wheels program and elderly support groups in Copenhagen. The objective of the service is to create more social eating opportunities for elderly people who live alone and are apprehensive about meeting new people.

With every meal, the elderly person receives a postcard from another elderly in the service network and a postcard for writing back. The postcards provide support to help the elderly converse on topics that interest them. With time, friendship amongst these pen-pals grows, making it easier for them to meet with their pen-pal over food (organised by the service).

Driving the service is a platform crowdsourced by healthcare professionals, elderly support groups and the municipality. Using common risk factors, elderly who are at risk of malnutrition are identified. Partnership with elderly support groups are made to empower ambassadors who does outreach to the elderly, identify the their interests and match them with compatible others.

This proposed solution takes into account the wide disparity in technology savviness and activity levels amongst the elderly. It is designed for implementation in cities where elderly predominantly live apart from their family and are not comfortable using technology.