Loneliness amongst elderly

As an interdisciplinary co-creation team member, consisting of professionals & university students, I worked for an intensive 10-week period in the Demola process to shape the future. We were developing a solution to the problem of loneliness amongst elderly, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. I pitched the idea in front of the jury and our team won the competition at the Polytechnic Institute of Tomar. We also won the Poliempreende entrepreneurship event and were invited to pitch our idea on the regional level.

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Demola Challenge


Kaja Bukovec, Ana Martins, Alexandre Nogueira, António Valério, Cátia Martins, Beatriz Rodrigues & facilitator Cristina Costa (IPT Tomar)




research | pitching | report content and design | UI/UX | photography


The one and only but not lonely

We all feel lonely sometimes. But due to the pandemic the elderly need to be isolated at home, away from family and friends. Unexpected loneliness because of Coronavirus is an issue that until today most organizations don’t know how to solve it. But our team proposed a solution to solve that problem. We collaborated with Daycare Center São Silvestre from Torres Novas and were solving the question of how to minimize feelings of isolation and loneliness of the elderly caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

After researching the phenomenon of loneliness, we talked 1 on 1 with professionals and with seniors that surround us, and based on those conversations and observations we brainstormed ideas that could potentially solve loneliness. We decided to combine our ‘’micro’’ ideas to create a bigger solution.



Our winning solution is SURPRISE BOX, a personalized box, delivered weekly to the homes of Daycare Center seniors and filled with activities and tools, which imitate the activities that people usually do in the Daycare Center. The box content will change every week and the boxes are designed to improve cognition and encourage physical activities. Our mission is to deliver smiles to the elderly and show them that they matter.



To expand our initial SURPRISE BOX idea and turn it into a profitable business we designed a website, where we would provide different personalized box subscriptions and would deliver them through all Portugal and Europe. This subscription model is helping the families to stay connected no matter where they live.


In a few years our target group’s needs will be different and we will adapt to them. When the elderly will be more familiar and equipped with technology, some box activities can be transferred into the app with the reward system.



When the box prototype was finished, we wanted to test it and show it to our user group – elderly at the Daycare Center. You can tell by their eyes that they were impressed and excited. Box idea was well accepted, experts offered us support and directors want to implement it into their organization.

Covid-19 will go, but loneliness will stay. Our mission is to deliver smiles to the elderly and help the families to stay connected no matter where they live. We want to make seniors feel less lonely
and more loved.


What I learned

During the whole process I learned that it all starts with good research and that the collaboration between team members is crucial. My team learned to use some design thinking processes that helped us better understand the problem we are solving and the target group we are addressing.