Posted September 10, 2018 05:37:16Facebook is launching a social media app for the elderly in South Australia to try and find out what makes people stay online and keep on using social media.
The project, which will launch with about 100 mobile devices in South Australian hospitals, is part of a broader push by Facebook to use mobile to make its social network more accessible to those in remote and underserved areas.
“People with dementia are the most under-represented groups on Facebook, and we need to reach them,” Facebook’s senior director of social innovation, Chris Weber, said in a statement.
Facebook has already launched an app for people with Alzheimer’s disease, the only one of its kind in Australia.
Facebook says that its new mobile application, called “I’m Here,” will be available to all people aged 65 and over.
“For people with dementia, we need a way to stay connected, with a family member or carer,” Weber said.
Facebook is working with South Australian Health and Disability Services to run the pilot project.
“We are thrilled to partner with South Australia Health and it’s going to give people in remote areas a chance to get the social support they need to stay online,” Weber added.
“It’s the perfect tool for the aged to help them connect to their family and friends and to help the people who care for them stay connected.”
Weber says the project is being developed with a focus on people with social disability and will be rolled out in the coming months.
He says the app is designed to be a “mobile social network” for people living with dementia and will also help people who have lost their job to be active online.
“The key to the app being accessible to people with a disability is to make it work across all platforms,” Weber explained.
“As we look at how we can work with social media in the future, we are looking at making it available across multiple platforms.”
Facebook has previously said that its mobile app, called I’m Here, is the first of its type in Australia to be available across all mobile platforms.
It is a collaboration with South African telco ZEEL, which is also developing a similar service for people who suffer from chronic conditions.
Facebook said it hopes to have the app out for use by mid-September, when it will roll it out to people in the same areas where the service is already in place.
“There is a great opportunity to give our patients the information they need, the support they require, and to make the service even more accessible and engaging,” Weber told the ABC.