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Snehal Khatavkar
Design researcher. Design strategist


In an era of hyper-connectedness, India’s ageing population is struggling with loneliness and becoming increasingly disconnected from its environment. 

According to agewell foundation, in India, a country of over a billion people, one in every two elderly individuals suffers from loneliness.

Mapping the various factor leading to loneliness in elder adults. 

Ageing 2.0

Social connectedness | Sense of purpose 

A real life observation turned design project, explores the many reasons contributing to loneliness and self-isolation in older adults. The process  facilitated in understanding the aspirations and desires of an aging population through personal interactions, observations and rapid  ideation.

Project type : Design  

Year: 2021


The Starting point for this design question was an observation about my grandmother. I always remember her as an active, independent personality in the family. Actively participating in the household and outside in her own social circle. Someone who always had a schedule of the day, planned various outings with us grandchildren and travelled places on her own. In the recent year though, we noticed a change in her behavior. She'd grown extremely silent, spent most of her time in her own room, hardly engaged in family activity and isolated herself from all social interactions. 


The design directions focus on 3 levels of interaction - With the society at large, within the family and forming relationships by engaging in new activities. 


Design direction 1 focuses on increasing digital literacy through traditional ways of communication. Leveraging the Nukkad natak /street play concept to spread awareness and educate the elderly about using various digital applications for making payments, ordering and sending goods etc. 

The intent behind this iteration to establish communication channels in collective groups. 

Design direction 1 

Design direction 2

A common observation from the various interviews 

was including family members in daily activities and conversations that stimulates memory, and makes the elderly feel included within the household. 

Combining the aspect of 'making something' with and

for your loved ones  and engaging in conversations

an activity kit is designed. 

The box is a weekly service that consists of a cue - 

in the form of a photograph or an object, a letter

and cue cards  according to the week's theme, to give ideas and a nudge to stimulate memory, spark conversation and share stories. 

To engage and find different likings, every box comes with a set of raw materials to make a small object , suggests recreational activities   

Design direction 3  

Combining interests and resources | Finding a sense of purpose through cultivating hobbies and learning from peers. 

A service that combines interests of an individual and the resources they're willing to share. 

Finding a sense of purpose need not lead to a formal job at all times. Recognizing that elders like to develop hobbies the service offers a platform to connect with people of similar interests. 


Talking to various relatives and neighbors helped me understand the lives of various older adults, and gave an insight about their aspirations 


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