Mobile phone for senior citizens with a focus on senior citizens' networking

Photo: A senior using a mobile phone to comminicate with familiy

Positively stimulating interpersonal experiences promote mental health. Telecommunication services such as tablets, smartphones and video consultation can intensify social contacts. However, those affected again experience exclusion and isolation if they do not yet have sufficient skills in using telecommunication devices such as smartphones.
It is essential that the telecommunication devices, such as smartphones, meet the needs of those affected and at the same time make simple communication, intuitive use of application programmes, playing games together possible. What bothers senior citizens most when they use a smartphone is the difficult operation and the small interaction fields. At the same time, the experience of the pandemic has increased the acceptance of using smartphones and trying out new apps. It is not only since the pandemic that people increasingly suffer from loneliness, especially in their last stage of life, and the fear of being alone in old age increases drastically. A study from 2017 (market Institut) shows, that in total 65% of all Austrians have developed a fear of loneliness in old age.

Those affected live alone at home or in institutions where, depending on the level of care, they are often no longer able to actively participate in communal home life. Talking, playing and exchanging ideas together becomes increasingly difficult or even impossible. The considerable risks and consequences of loneliness and social isolation for the physical and mental health of older people are well documented empirically: A significant increase in acute stress symptoms can be observed, sleep disorders, anxiety symptoms, depressiveness and post-traumatic stress disorders are also noticeable. Loneliness and isolation also increase the incidence of many chronic diseases and worsen their prognosis; they also weaken the immune system of people in old age.
Numerous long-term studies also show social isolation to be an independent primary risk factor for increased morbidity and mortality in old age.

Project objective
A smartphone with an intuitive and simple operating concept that also promotes or stimulates interaction and communication among people in old age and can consequently lead to a reduction in the feeling of loneliness is currently not available on the market. Therefore, Seniors.Next.Level.Mobile has set itself the goal of developing a mobile phone for seniors with a focus on senior networking.

  • A prototype of a mobile phone for senior citizens is to be created that addresses special requirements of older people who could escape loneliness through intelligent, digital networking.
  • Inclusion of features that are easy to learn and intuitively designed to facilitate communication among this target group. The aim is that it should also be easy to set up the smartphone (user, email account, ...) without further telephone support.
  • Features that serve play and entertainment, even if people are separated locally

In this project, LIFEtool contributes its expertise in user requirement elicitation and analysis, creates personas and user stories, and tests the prototype in the trial phase with stakeholders. Overall, it is important that we develop a deep understanding of the users: What are their habits, their fears, their wishes, their problems, their needs for interaction and communication with other people.

Cooperation Partner

  • Volkshilfe Gesundheits- und Soziale Dienste GmbH
  • bea-fon mobile GmbH
  • Ulrich Neuwirth
  • Contact

    Mag.a Isabel Karlhuber
    Head of Research
    Phone +43 664 620 76 15

    01.07.2022 - 30.04.2024

  • Project Type

    Cooperation project
  • Support Program

    SKU programme: Stimulation of cooperations for the implementation of cooperative research, development or organisational projects