Give&Take: Designing a reciprocal exchange service for a good and engaged senior life



Digital Service Exchange Platform for Seniors As part of the EU funded Give&Take project coordinated by the IT University of Copenhagen, researchers will design and evaluate a digital platform that will support senior citizens in building social relations by exchanging services, and help them maintain an active citizenship. 
The platform will be developed in cooperation with the seniors, and is intended to work like this: 82 years old Maria and widower Adam on 75 live in the same apartment block, but don’t know each other. Through the digital platform, they get in touch and get to know each other’s special skills. Perhaps Maria can still cook, so she prepares a meal for Adam, who is not used to cooking at all. In turn, Adam helps mounting a TV on Maria’s wall, which she cannot do herself. This is basically a digital version of the old give-and-take principle according to Lone Malmborg, who is head of the project:- The fact that you retire doesn’t necessarily mean that you should stop using the skills that you have developed through several decades. We know for a fact that a lot of senior citizens are capable and willing to live an active life – and that they have a lot to contribute with in relation to themselves as well as others. But I think some seniors need a helping hand building new relations to others who are in the same situation, she says.Give&Take is an inter-European research project that is partially funded by the EU program AAL (Ambient Assisted Living). Together with The Technical University of Vienna, the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design, and senior citizens in Denmark and Vienna the IT University of Copenhagen will design and evaluate the service exchange platform in local communities in Frederiksberg Municipality and in an Austrian municipality. Important commercial partners in developing the service are the companies SocialSquare (Denmark) and Take The Wind (Portugal) representing strong development knowledge in digital social media and technology for the health area.- Once the project is completed, we will have designed and evaluated the social network. We will have analyzed and documented how it works, and what it means to different users etc. The companies participating in the project will have a detailed picture of how the platform can be realized technically and commercially. In this way, we expect to have a system that is almost or fully fledged in 2017, Lone Malmborg says.Quality of life is a good investmentIn the long term, findings from the Give&Take project can turn out to be of great value for society and for citizens. According to the EU 2009 Ageing Report, the number of people in Europe aged 64+ will more than double from 2008 to 2060. Consequently, EU and the WHO have put Active Ageing high on the agenda. The aim is to motivate senior citizens into living an active life, physically as well as socially. Not only does this raise the life quality of the senior citizens; it also makes financially sense. The socio-economic consequences of loneliness amongst seniors are significant. In 2011, one of the world-leading researchers in loneliness, Professor John T. Cacioppo from the University of Chicago, concluded that long-term loneliness is as harmful to health as smoking. According to Lone Malmborg, more and more public institutions choose to prioritize social wellbeing among citizens. Last year, for instance, Copenhagen Municipality launched a big campaign against loneliness with a budget of more than €2 million in three years.- Our hypothesis is, that by creating a space, where seniors can exchange services – and thereby create value for each other – we can also prevent loneliness among the group of seniors that have reached an age where it is difficult to engage with life outside of their apartment. In this way, the project challenges the widespread assumption that seniors need help per se just because they are old. Sure, there are a lot of people who do need help and care, but there are also a great number of seniors who have a lot of skills to contribute with. Not only in relation to other seniors, but also to younger generations, Lone Malmborg concludes.
AkronymGive & Take
Effektiv start/slut dato01/05/201430/04/2017


  • codesign
  • seniors
  • participatory design
  • service platform
  • social relations
  • Exchanging favors