Affiliations: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Finland | University of Luxembourg, Walferdange, Luxembourg | Department of Public Health, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands | Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD, Germany | User Interface Design GmbH, Germany | VUA University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Abstract: Life events, such as retirement or being widowed, can change the social circle of older people considerably. It may be difficult to find new social contacts when one has never got used to, or perhaps even never learnt, to seek and maintain those contacts. Loneliness has many negative effects for well-being, including depression and even cardiovascular disease. The Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme (AAL-JP) research project V2me seeks to find a solution for alleviating loneliness by means of easy-to-use technology including touch screen devices. The idea is to use a virtual coach for encouraging users to take an active role in contacting people and teaching them how to initiate and maintain meaningful and enduring relations. The first step, in the process of creating the complete virtual coach-assisted system for preventing loneliness, is to create a proto type and use the feedback from older users for developing the system. In this paper we discuss the results of the first pilot and what steps need to be taken next.