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‘SeniorMate/Saho Buddy’ – An Application

Muhil V, a student of Communication Design in Semester VIII pursued his Minor Research Project/Degree Project in designing a mobile application for senior citizens who are living alone and struggling with many things. This service/tech start-up was funded Rs. 100000/- by the Student Start-up Innovation Programme (SSIP), Government of Gujarat and was incubated by the incubation Centre, Nirma University, Ahmedabad in December 2022.

SahoBuddy is a tech/service startup that aims to bring senior citizens together through a simple app, solve their problem of loneliness, and assist them with their needs and bucket lists in life through the help of a ‘Buddy’. The ‘assisting buddies’ are some of the best and most empathetic students from Nirma University, Ahmedabad who genuinely care for senior citizens. They are screened, interviewed and trained in various criteria to ensure that they would be a great buddy. They also need a reference from a parent and a professor to be a buddy.

This mobile application will enable them to hire a trained person to Assist Seniors for Doctor’s Appointments, Shopping, Pilgrimage, Travel or even just for companionship. But mainly to help them in checking off bucket lists!

Before the delivery of the final product, the student sought to understand their activity level on the mobile phone, types of services required, age profile, financial ability, education level, technological literacy, and level of independence to make the design and the services relevant for the identified target groups. The mobile app is at the developmental stage and once launched, will be able to serve the needs of the senior citizens in the country. During the pilot, the senior citizens gave an overwhelmingly positive response about the services and the buddies. Even the buddies enjoyed learning from senior citizens.

The mobile application aims to offer the following services:
A. Buddies: Can either book an Assistant/Attendant/Caretaker from the App or call our number.
• Short-term Assisting: Assisting with shopping, nearby travel/event visits, nearby temples, doctor’s appointments, cooking, companionship, Assisting with household work, etc.
• Travel / Bucket list Assisting: Assisting senior citizens with long-distance travel that spans more than a day.
• Long-term Assisting: Providing a regular home nurse/caretaker/companion. Part-time and full-time.
B. Connect: Find and Message senior citizens near you
C. Events: Create/ attend/ book paid and free events. Also, get paid easily for the events you conduct.
D. Facilitating Donations (In the future)
E. Ed-Tech (In the future)

Muhil V has come a long way since the inception of the idea. The idea started during the COVID-19 pandemic when there was nobody to take care of his grandparents. Firstly, there were covid restrictions. But mostly because it was hard to even find a trustable person to take care of a senior citizen. The app, once launched will help a lot of senior citizens find a reliable buddy to help them out with some chores but also an ear to listen to all the tales of life’s experiences they want to tell.