An app for improving social connection for senior citizens.
“Vincles BCN” is a social innovation project designed to strengthen the social ties of elderly people who feel lonely and to improve their well-being with the aid of new technologies.
The project was created to respond to an ever-increasing need: attending to elderly people in a situation of isolation in Barcelona.
There are over 300,000 people in Barcelona aged 65 or over who live alone, and 100,000 of them are over the age of 80.
Barcelona City Council considered exploiting the potential of new technologies to help elderly people to feel less lonely, strengthen their communication with friends and family and broaden their social relationships.
The goal is for the elderly to manage their own relationships using information and communication technologies (ICTs).
“Vincles BCN” has developed an accessible and highly intuitive app, designed especially for the elderly. Once installed on a tablet connected to the internet, the app allows its users to communicate through videocalls and video or voice messages. It's available on Android and IOS.
Users interact with two groups: their friends and family, and their “Vincles” user group, which connects to other elderly people in their area who share their interests. The latter group has an outreach officer who promotes participation.
The pilot scheme for the programme went live at the start of 2017 in five neighbourhoods in Eixample and Sant Martí. It has already started being rolled out in all the neighbourhoods of these two districts and will gradually reach the rest of the city.
The “Vincles BCN” programme won first prize at the Mayors Challenge Europe 2014, awarded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Foundation. The first stage saw the City Council working on an IT model to make the app as easy to use as possible, so that elderly people on the programme could use the tablet independently.