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InterConnected - Nurturing & Celebrating Interdependence

Interactive assessment that connects users with complementary abilities and makes personalized suggestions of ways they can help each other.

Photo of Dawn Feldthouse

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it enable older adults to live their best possible life by preventing falls?

Our product is for older adults and their community of support. It helps them connect around complimentary abilities (e.g. “Let me help you with shopping since I am more physically able, and you can help me read the paper because you have great eyesight”) to cultivate positive community building around interdependence. It helps to prevent falls by creating awareness of each others strengths and weaknesses and encouraging users to look out for each other.

Our team decided to create awareness and build community by using a mobile application to get a deeper insight on the emotional and physical abilities of our elder population. The mobile application will start by asking personal details like 

  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. Health insurance card 
  4. Doctors name
  5. Living alone or with family
  6. Age
  7. Hobbies

The next step is a series of questions designed to interact with the user without disrupting their attitude towards the self-assessment. Questions will be framed keeping in mind not to ask questions in an insensitive or blunt fashion. Rather questions will be framed in a positive way so that we may understand the user's physical, emotional, and social abilities. 

A brief report of their results will be presented to them at the end of their self-assessment test. This report may be shared with their family members and doctor based on their preference. This report will enable family members to understand the user’s strengths and weaknesses so that they may better assist them with their needs. This information may also be used to identify complementary strengths and weakness so that positive interdependence can be fostered within the family, reinforcing family bonds. 

The idea of the self-assessment is to make them aware of their positive strengths so that they can find a way to help others while at the same time being able to seek help from others with strengths they do not have. They can share their results with others around their neighborhood to let others know what they can offer and what they might need help with. This way people in the neighborhood can help each other out to create a stronger community. 

The mobile application will also serve as a platform to share pictures with others in the community about any hazards in the environment. Users may discuss best practices they found useful for their commute or activities of daily living. This will also help the others go out and do things carefully by watching out for hazards and go to places suggested in the application. 

The solution is to increase awareness of the positive aspects of interdependence. It encourages users to come to peace with aging and to age gracefully rather than feeling shame with their steady loss of independence. We are planning to design questions and get feedback from elders to see what they like and what they do not want to answer. The idea is to make them comfortable answering the questions and understand themselves better through the self-assessment.    

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We would like to try out our idea with older adults at Senior Centers in our area. We will observe them interacting with our low-fidelity prototype and take insights gained to improve our prototype for further testing, iterating on this cycle as many times as we can.

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

We would love to hear ideas from the OpenIDEO community regarding assessing an individual's abilities and mobility in a positive way that highlights their strengths, not their weaknesses. For example, instead of asking, "Can you get dressed independently?" We would prefer to have users affirm statements like, "I can get dressed by myself." or "Sometimes I might need a little help getting dressed."

How long has your idea existed?

  • 0-3 months

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

Tell us about your work experience:

I have just over two year's experience in applied research. I am a Master's Valedictorian for my class and will graduate in May with an MS in healthcare informatics. At NYU I focused on the SDLC, human-centered & design thinking processes, user research, persuasive design, and UX/UI design.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Joy_Chokchai

Hi Dawn and Team!

I really like your idea of bringing the community together and assessing for skills that each member can accomplish. Do you think that extending this platform to those that want to volunteer as 'helpers' is beneficial? It would generate a user base so when you recruit those in need, there is a list in their neighborhood of available volunteers to start with that can assist them with areas of care.

If you have a chance, please check out my contribution. I appreciate any feedback and collaboration opportunities!

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