Sarah Campbell, PhD, and David Frohlich, PhD
Competition Sponsor: UK Research and Innovation
As people live longer, the number of older adults globally is growing. This presents a growing problem: the number of older adults experiencing loneliness. Currently, over a quarter of adults over 65 are socially isolated. In the UK alone, over a million older adults go more than a month without speaking to friends, family or neighbours, and 1.4 million are chronically lonely. Loneliness is associated with increased risk of dementia, heart disease, poor mental health and early death. The risk loneliness poses to public health explains why addressing loneliness for older adults is a key priority for the UK government and the UN.
Our project aims to reduce loneliness in older adults. We propose a novel, enjoyable and engaging way for older adults to get to know new people easily within their community, as well as build and deepen relationships with each other, their families, friends and wider society. Our solution is particularly relevant for when older adults have had to move, often due to bereavement, downsizing or requiring additional support or care needs.
We are proposing an augmented reality board game that facilitates storytelling, reminiscing, and capturing and celebrating lives. This creates quality connection and is a social experience played in-person or remotely. Most importantly, this is an experience initiated and directed by older adults themselves. We are co-designing this game with older adults of low socioeconomic status, ensuring an accessible, low cost and inclusive solution.