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Senior citizens gain purpose, connectivity and wider social networks by holding native-tongue conversations with language students worldwide

Photo of Mark Ellis
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Senior citizens across the world are rich in life experience, language skills and time. 

Many of them, however, are in need of purpose and relevancy, engaging company, and the opportunity to learn about connective technology which would enable them to communicate easier with family and friends.

With the Covid19 pandemic creating more isolation for older people and less opportunity to meet others in person, there is a real need for them to gain proficient skills in video conference technology.

HelloSalut aims to use the richness of their life experience to provide a valuable service for language students around the world, providing high-quality conversations in native tongues for students to enjoy enriching, worldly-wise learning opportunities.

HelloSalut is a digital service which will partner with senior citizen groups and charities, as well as global language schools, to enable connections to be made around the world. Connections can be matched around interests and specific learning objectives, while senior citizens can explore the world through the eyes of their chat companions. 

Full tutorials and advice for setting up and using video conference technology will be built into the product, using an AI chatbot interface and video tutorials. The video calls will be facilitated through existing video conference technology, such as Zoom.

Senior citizens will be able to build up a trusted network of chat companions around the world, bringing new friendships, understanding and experience into their home, while language students will be able to tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience from our global seniors.

What is the need are you focusing on?

– The need to tackle the isolation of senior citizens, unable to go out or meet family and friends, exacerbated by the Covid19 pandemic

– The need for senior citizens to understand and use video conferencing technology to stay connected to family and friends

– The need for senior citizens to use their wealth of knowledge and experience to provide a meaningful and relevant service

– The need for language students to practice their conversational skills with native speakers

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Identifying a gap that needs to be addressed

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

Language schools pivot to bring rich conversational opportunities to their students online through a global community of senior citizens. Senior citizen groups pivot to provide opportunities for their members to make new friends, experience the world and learn new technology.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Maybe-with additional support

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

The main underlying purpose for this initiative is to provide efficient training for senior citizens to be able to use video conferencing technology, allowing them to connect with family and friends easier. The other positive changes range from greater self-esteem and purpose, wider friendship groups, better mental health, and an ability to explore other cultures, places and ideas. There will be a positive impact for language students globally, with access to native speakers available for conversations and idea exchanges.

What is the name of your business or organization?

Beautiful Normal

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

We are an agency on a mission to drive brand transition towards sustainability. We are designers, strategists and coaches who believe that the most relevant brands, businesses and organisations are those which exist to create a positive impact on people and our planet. We collaborate with them to create positive momentum towards a sustainable and profitable future by: – Creating powerful brand narratives based around purpose and relevance – Embedding design thinking to enable iterative innovation – Empowering leaders to make planet-first decisions – Driving behavioural change through campaigns and communications We work with established brands and new startups.

What is your profession?

Founder, director, designer

Where are you located (country)?

United Kingdom

Where are you located (region)?

  • Europe

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Communications/Visual Design
  • Customer Experience/Service
  • Designer(UX/CX/Design Research)

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 0-10

How old is your business/company?

  • Less than 1 year old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Business

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Funding- Investment
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- NGOs
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Private Sector
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Government
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Civil Society Groups
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Grassroots/Community Groups
  • Charity partnerships

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

We are looking to build partnerships with senior citizen organisations and global language schools.

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

Finding the right partnerships globally.

Website URL


Join the conversation:

Photo of Shruti Saha

Hey Mark! This is an amazing Idea! and could really kick off if launched during these times of crisis. I also see an opportunity for virtual user testing with Students from language schools, and this could become their interesting thesis project (User testing becomes part of the curriculum). (One problem I see: a % of Senior citizens may need assistance to set up the connection )

Photo of Mark Ellis

Hey Shruti, that's a fabulous idea around the user testing becoming part of their thesis. That will be something worth mentioning when we're approaching these institutions. Totally agree around the possible problem of connection. I see step-by-step tutorials as a vital part of the product, and a chat function to answer questions. I think early uptake with senior citizens will be amongst those who are already at reasonable capability level online. The biggest challenge will be for those who are novice or have very little skill around this.

Photo of Shruti Saha

Hey Mark. Sounds good. A step by step tutorial with additional support should do it for most I guess.
Anyways, I wish you Good luck with this project Mark.

Photo of Mark Ellis

Thanks Shruti.