Described most simply as a ‘one button screen’, KOMP is a communication tool designed specifically for, and in collaboration with, older people. The product is designed by No Isolation (www.noisolation.com), an Oslo-based start-up founded to reduce involuntary social isolation and loneliness. Following the success of its first product, a telepresence robot named AV1, designed to help children with long-term illness attend school and stay connected with their friends, the company decided to focus on developing an initial solution for seniors and launched KOMP. To date, more than 400 KOMPs are in use in Norway alone, with seven being trialled in the UK.
While many have a large family unit, and enjoy spending time with family and friends, older people are still the single largest group affected by loneliness. According to Age UK, 3.6 million older people in the UK live alone, with 1.9 million reporting feeling ignored and invisible. In 2017, Eurostat reported that 1.1 million seniors are in contact with relatives just once a month or less. Seeing the positive impact that being able to communicate has had on users of AV1, No Isolation knew the power that being connected could have, in terms of reducing feelings of loneliness. They were also acutely aware that the devices that are currently available to allow people to go online and socialise with family and friends are either too complicated or do not meet the needs of most seniors.
Modifying existing technology simply wasn't an option, so No Isolation worked with older people, families and designers to work out exactly what KOMP needed to feature to work for its target user. By conducting extensive research into how seniors interacted with technology, No Isolation found that touch screens were not intuitive, and for some, not receptive, to the fingertips of the elderly - which led to KOMP only having one large, graspable button. To avoid confusion, the user can switch the device off and on by twisting the button, as well as change the KOMP’s volume by rotating it.
MANSFIELD Lousie, et al
This systematic review looks at the wellbeing outcomes when taking part in outdoor activities with family. Although there is existing evidence on the benefits being outdoors has for our wellbeing, there is less evidence of the wellbeing benefits when the time is spent with family. The review included empirical research assessing the relationship between outdoor recreation interventions for families and subjective wellbeing, published from 1997 - October 2017 and grey literature published from 2007-2017. The review reports on fifteen studies in total, including two quantitative, one mixed methods (RCT and interviews), and ten qualitative studies. Overall the review found the evidence base was limited with the number of studies and quality, especially for quantitative studies. The evidence from quantitative studies indicates that taking part in outdoor recreation with families has no significant effect on children's quality of life, and has no significant effect on self-esteem and other measures of psychological wellbeing. Initial evidence findings from qualitative studies showed more positive impacts when taking part in outdoor recreation with families, showing improved self-competence learning and identity; improved wellbeing via escapism, relaxation and sensory experience; and improved social bonding as a family. Analysis of survey data found that people's enjoyment of the outdoors is enhanced when they are spending time with family and friends, and in particular with partners.
MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION
Examines how investing in building and maintaining good relationships and tackling the barriers to forming them positively impact on mental health and wellbeing. The evidence shows that people who are more socially connected to family, friends, or their community are happier, physically healthier and live longer, with fewer mental health problems than people who are less well connected. The paper looks at relationships across the life course and why they matter, focusing on children and young people, adults and later life. Higher rates of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety have been associated with loneliness, isolation and social rejection during adolescence and similarly having few close relationships has been linked to higher rates of depression and stress in older adults. The report calls on national governments, public bodies and employers to promote good relationships and tackle barriers, including mounting pressures on work–life balance and the impact of bullying and unhealthy relationships.