- Justin Allen
- Steven Hansen
- Adriana Marquez
- Enrique Palacios
- Scarleth Yahoska Loaisiga Ruiz
- Danfer Jalil Habed López
With the constant stream of media highlighting the symptoms of COVID-19 and its mortality rate, most people, companies, and governments are now very aware of the dangers associated with COVID-19. Collectively we are taking action to implement social distancing. However, most people are not aware of the terrible health risks related to social isolation. If we are not careful, social isolation (and its many health problems, including pre-mature death) will significantly increase due to our social distancing efforts. So, while each of us should ensure we stay safe and practice social distancing, we also need to be aware of our own level of social isolation and social isolation scores of our loved ones.
Did you know that researchers have proven that Social Isolation / Loneliness is worse for an individual’s health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day?
Research also shows that Social Isolation is worse than inactivity and obesity and it is a predictor of both, meaning that if you have a high social isolation score, you are much more likely to be inactive and struggle with obesity. Inactivity and obesity are key contributors to Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease, the two most costly Chronic Conditions.
Additionally, a study in the Journal of Neurology, neurosurgery, & Psychiatry found that an individual suffering from loneliness has a 64% higher chance of getting dementia, which leads to Alzheimer’s.
The journal of Aging Life Care published a study showing that social isolation doubles the likelihood of having a stroke.
Social isolation is also a leading predictor of Major Depressive Disorder (clinical depression), Anxiety (including symptoms such as panic attacks), and ultimately suicide, especially among young people.
In sum, there is a 45% increased risk of mortality (death) in people who report feeling lonely.
Yes, COVID-19 can kill, we have to fight it with social distancing, and at the same time we have to be sure that our efforts to fight COVID-19 don't leave us with more health problems caused by social isolation!
What it does
Our app allows you to (a) Measure and Track your own Social Isolation score, and (b) take action by doing 4 things to reduce social isolation in our own lives and in the lives of our loved ones.
Measure and Track your Social Isolation Score: In the last 10 years, researchers have agreed that there are a few statistically sound ways to measure social isolation. One of the most popular measurement tools was created at UCLA. We use this tool to allow users to easily keep track of their social isolation levels. Each week, our app users will receive a notification to take a 4-question survey. Over time, they can track whether their social isolation scores are going up or down.
Take Action to Reduce Social Isolation: There are four actionable steps we can take to fight social isolation:
(1) Purpose: Be clear about our purpose (What is my mission? Who do I support? How do I make a difference? What good do I fight for?). In our app, you can write down your purpose to keep it front and center in your life.
(2) Positive Connection: Engage in positive connection with people we care about every day (preferably face-to-face or on a call — in our environment, video conferencing and phone calls are good substitutes for in-person visits). In the app, make a pledge to connect with others frequently.
(3) Service: Reach out and serve the people around us. Research shows that serving and helping others has a big impact on reducing our social isolation and improving our well-being. Additionally (and perhaps surprisingly) simply thinking about helping or serving someone has an almost equally positive effect. So sit down, make a plan, and engage in every-day random acts of kindness. In the app, make a pledge to serve others.
(4) Give: Giving to others or expressing care and love has a positive impact on our well-being. Giving can range from sharing a kind smile, to sending a note of appreciation, to donating a little money to a good cause (but don’t get stuck thinking that giving money is the only way you can give!). The key is to find a way to give of ourselves frequently. In the app, make a pledge to give to others.
Once you make your pledge, you can schedule events or tasks for yourself in the app to frequently engage in positive connection, service, and giving. The app will remind you to complete the goals you have set, and over time you can keep your social isolation score low.
How we built it
We designed the UI in Figma and we're currently building the app using ReactNative and Firebase.
Challenges we ran into
We initially hoped to build a working prototype and load it onto the App Store, but given the limited time in this hackathon, we decided to focus first on pulling together an MVP UI and created a simple 2-minute video to explain the idea.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We have an amazing team! Justin met most of the Nicasource team a just few days ago at the beginning of the hackathon. It's been fun to see how each of us has been able to work together, leveraging our individual strengths to quickly create a solution that can save lives and improve well-being for millions of people around the world.
What we learned
Our subject matter expert, Justin, has had a goal to help reduce social isolation for the last several years after learning about social isolation in connection with his beloved grandfather's death. He began by focusing on building solutions that help families care for their elderly loved ones who are struggling with social isolation. However, he is amazed and excited about the new variations on these ideas and the significant process that has been made in the last few days. Our team attributes the speed of solution generation to a combination of: (a) the urgency of the current COVID-19 pandemic, (b) the hackathon time constraints, and (c) an enthusiastic team who wants to make a difference. Constraints and crisis can be the seedbed for creativity!
What's next for test
Going forward, we aim to continue programming and hope to have the free app in the App Store soon so that all of us can keep track of our Social Isolation scores while we practice social distancing. Once the MVP is out, we are excited to get user feedback and continue to improve the app, make it more engaging, and hopefully create a group feature that allows people to collaborate and help each other to achieve goals within their own unique purpose areas. This initial design is simply a rough MVP and we can't wait to use feedback and data to evolve it into a powerful solution that saves lives. This app will continue to be supported by Justin’s Benefit Corporation (a social impact organization) called Pando Care Circle (www.pandocarecircle.com).
Try It out
figma, firebase, reactnative