Creating happy experiences for our seniors

Champion Name

Peter Zhou; Ryan Bourns

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Combining impactful technology with unique minds to advance community-based health interventions for our aging population --

Do you take happiness for granted? Numerous publications outline the positive impact of being happy and yet there’s an increasing number of people isolated, lonely, and in an unwell mental state. Studies around the world report that roughly two in five adults are feeling lonely. Our survey in Calgary showed that number closer to one in two adults.

Triggers that put our aging population in this depressive mental state include the disappearance of important things such as mobility, family members, and friends. For some, making new friends is a hard journey. Anna was formed to address social isolation and loneliness by enabling seniors to embark on their own hero’s journey. We developed Annabot, a voice-operated application designed to help connect seniors to community volunteers. We make seniors feel happy by connecting them with volunteers who share similar passions, who hold the seniors accountable to little things that make a big impact. These include suggesting community events and resources, walking routes, and trying out new activities.

We want to keep giving seniors a nice jolt of creativity and spontaneity to disrupt the status quo and make them feel youthful and optimistic about the future. Our DNA is to use technology to deliver a human touch. It’s the uniqueness, trustworthiness, and the delivery that make an intervention long-lasting and impactful. We love to collaborate and build the Thought Engine: a mood-focused approach to curating activities. Often time people know they need to feel happy but don’t know how to feel happier! The Thought Engine is a text-driven machine learning tool that analysis conversations and moods from the past conversations, and suggest (new) activities that elevate their mood. This is not just a data approach but complemented with a framework approach by considering the users' psychology and history.

In addition to using text data to predict new experiences and activities, we will also have the opportunity to conduct a deep dive into the data and elucidate indicators and patterns that are important to doctors in administering therapy and psychomedicine. 4 months of data between two primary users and the volunteer will be provided. The co-founders and Anna advisors (in gerontology and psychology) are made accessible to the innovators as needed. The users can also be made available for interviews and discussions.

We would like to explore temporal effects, the efficacy of the intervention, changes in behavior, engagement, and create unique conversation and ideas to challenge the seniors to strive forward one day at a time., and moving ideas for seniors to try. Combining science, data, and our own personal touch, we have the ability to leave a positive impact in our communities.