1/4 of elderly population over 50 years old are currently suffering from social isolation.
World is entering super-aged society: Every country in the world is experiencing growth in both the size and the proportion of older persons in the population. By 2030, 1 in 6 people in the world will be aged 60 years or over (WHO, 2021).
But more adults are socially isolated: The data portary that the older a person is, the more likely they have smaller networks, fewer primary network members, and more distant relationship ties (Cornwell, Laumann, Schumm, 2008). However, the current social system doesn’t provide enough support.
elders’ needs from previous interviews
Social interactions, especially with younger people, excites older adults. But independent participation is key in those interactions.
The gap between social support and elders’ needs is from the lack of independence and ageism: The current social support system expects the passive role of older adults due to their agiest assumptions of regarding elders as frail and dependent. However, independent was what elders most wanted in their social activities. Therefore, the current social system could not fulfill elders’ needs in social participation and fail to encourage active and continuous social interactions of elders.
Voice from interviewees:
- “It’s hard to live along, but I go out, I share in different occasions, social participation is a good motivator for us as we growing old.” (Sally, 65y)
- “I’m taking care of myself, my health is good, I need to stay healthy and mentally oriented, so I won’t seek anybody’s help and still enjoy my life.” (Michelle, 65y)
1. Elder-friendly services have no space for intergenerational conversation
2. Q&A platform as a great format for intergenerational conversation
3. Information overload is an issue
There are a few competitors for elders’ social participation and they are mostly through elderly volunteering. However, the process was complicated with lots of information and was not accessible to all older adults, especially many of elders have physical illnesses. Q&A platforms often create easy social participation of elders through intergenerational conversation but still, information overload was an issue.
After thematic analysis on the data collected from research process, we came up with three major insights.