The five of us have all felt powerless on many occasions in our lives where we found ourselves unable to care for a loved one due to distance. Even our parents constantly tell us about regrets of not being able to help their own mother or father because of being too far away and living a busy lifestyle. And we know we’re not the only ones who share this terrible feeling of wanting to help, but simply being unable to. In light of the recent pandemic, there have been tragic stories about elderly being forgotten in their homes, feeling left alone in this new, isolated world and foolishly believing that nobody cares about them. Our mission is to create a platform that can connect the two once again, and allow for individuals to take care for their elders in a home away from home and for these seniors to feel the warmth and care of their loved ones even when they are not physically present.
What it does
Bridge is a new and easy solution that allows any individual to care for and check in on their elderly family members or friends even when they’re hundreds of miles away. In the busy lifestyles of many working class adults today, Bridge creates an easy way to check in on distant loved ones and plan out tasks such as exercise or medication routines with the press of a few buttons. On the flip side, the app allows for seniors to be able to keep track of their own health and exercise in an extremely intuitive and simple to use platform that was tailored for individuals who weren’t raised in the mobile age.
How we built it
We built the app with two core requirements in mind: efficiency and ease of use. We recognize that most individuals live very busy lifestyles which hinders them from being able to call home on a regular basis to check in on their parents/grandparents. Whether it be scheduling an exercise routine for an elder or just simply checking in, any feature of the app can be performed in the click of a few or even just one button. We also recognize that seniors are not the most technology fluent, so we designed the app to have very intuitive user flows and a UI that is simple and easy to see to minimize any possible confusion. We shaved off any unnecessary components to provide a simplistic, clean, yet still heartwarming experience.
Challenges I ran into
The idea of an “app for the elderly” is almost an oxymoron in itself. So many individuals have shied away from making or designing modern tech solutions for the elderly because there is always the presumption that seniors can’t use technology. But our team refused to be deterred by this challenge because we believe we’re looking at a serious and universal problem. We interviewed individuals who fall within our target demographics to better see the solution from a user’s point of view and design for others and not ourselves. We also dealt with concerns about what would encourage individuals to use our app when they sometimes don’t even have the time for a phone call back home. Keeping this in the back of our minds, we reduced fluff anywhere possible and worked to create a solution that was quick, but also effective.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
When designing the app, our focus was always on simplicity and efficiency. We recognize that many of the apps that we may use on a daily basis can be unintuitive or overwhelming for elders, so we are extremely proud to have been able to design an interface that is seamless, intuitive, and which will ultimately incite the greatest amount of user engagement. We truly believe that this design will make checking in easier than ever, and elders’ continued interaction as a result of this design will make it easier than ever for care providers to stay up to date and provide the most specialized attention possible.
What I learned
The greatest lesson that we can take away from this experience is the importance of viewing a problem from the perspectives of others. Until this project, we had never realized just how many different sides of the caregiving task existed. It’s impossible to properly care for an elder, or anyone really, by addressing purely their physical pain - providing real care requires a holistic approach and takes into account their emotional and mental health as well. Taking the time to consider the perspectives of caregivers, elders, and people of different demographics through research and in-person interviews provided us with a great number of questions and considerations that we wouldn’t have otherwise encountered. As a result, we grew as problem solvers and learned to create a product that would provide a well-rounded and comprehensive care experience for everyone.
What's next for Bridge
The future implications of Bridge are endless. We hope to expand the app to allow elderly family members to feel cared for and provided for as if their support system were physically present. Though the initial model contains only the basic features of regular check-ins and medication and physical exercise monitoring, our goal is to grow the reach of our product so that care providers can do more than just observe - instead, we will empower them to be proactive in their dependents’ future by providing them with the resources to identify the most effective strategies and products for their individual needs. In the future, we won’t just be reacting to emergencies - we’ll be preventing them.