Project 3: Buddy Chat
A simple and fun card game to engage you in social interaction. A way to get to know each other better, while developing lasting and meaningful relationships.
Buddy Chat at play
suiteLiving360 created Buddy Chat as a creative way to meet one of the great challenges of our time: Social Isolation and Loneliness.
Extensive research, including a conversation with Paul Born, co founder of the Tamarack Institute at Waterloo University, identifies ‘social isolation and loneliness’ emerging as one of two top social problems facing us as a society, with seniors and young people the most vulnerable. And that was pre COVID! Both the United Kingdom and Japan have appointed Ministers of Loneliness in their governments. Canada is not immune. It is thought that our health care costs will increase exponentially depending on the help we provide people suffering from social isolation and loneliness. suiteLiving360,with the financial support of New Horizons for Seniors for which we are always so grateful, recently devised an innovative process to engage seniors with the express purpose of mitigating social isolation and loneliness.
As Jake Ernst, asocial worker and clinical director of Straight Up Health says “It is about returning to our innate core needs. As humans, we are a social species, which means that we need each other in order to be well, and when we are cut off from relationships or when there’s something in between us, like a phone or some sort of technology, then that just starts to erode our sense of connection to other people,”
What is Buddy Chat?
Buddy Chat is a simple and fun card game consisting of 52 cards in a deck allowing you to engage seniors in social interaction and a new way to get to know each other better while developing lasting and meaningful relationships. A typical question is "Tell me your favorite memory growing up as a teenager"
Buddy Chat provides a warm, safe, and friendly encounter and can occur among a larger group of people or, equally successfully, between two people, a few around a table, or a larger audience in theatre style. There is a simple question on each card and the recipient gets to answer. “My favourite …. “ and there is a list of simple things like my favourite animal; favourite friend growing up, favourite subject at school, favourite singer … at a deeper level, you have learned something personal about someone else and this can make for a more meaningful relationship. We have so few deep relationships today. Sadly, most are superficial. “Hi, how are you?”;“Fine thank you”, “Good, OK goodbye”. What ideas do you have to mitigate this disease of our time? How do you think we can prevent social isolation and loneliness among seniors?
Buddy Chat customization option.
You can always change up the questions to suit your audience. We did this with a church group as well as a group of Rotarians according to their specific interests. You can create a list of simple questions and print cards of your own. Just make sure that the questions are easy to answer. No trick or complicated questions please. This should be fun for all!
Sample deck of 52 cards.
The reason WHY Social Isolation and Loneliness is hitting epidemic proportions
New restaurant concept: where diners dine alone.
Group on their phones: Not interacting as a family.
In person / Intergenerational social gathering
Zoom meeting: Even when afar, people can still connect.
they are often thought to be interchangeable, but they are not the same thing. Loneliness is a subjective feeling. –I might be with a dozen people in a room but within myself … I feel, think, experience my aloneness. I feel disconnected.
Social isolation is an objective condition. – especially during COVID, when we were encouraged NOT to mingle, and we learned to stay away from others.
A major consequence of COVID was that we got used to not having regular social contact. Are there repercussions of this that we have not yet fully grasped or felt? Where social isolation and loneliness merge is when we consider that loneliness is very much a modern phenomenon, as it is largely a function of how we live today. Socially, we are scattered with members of families often living on different continents. Before 1800, the word loneliness was not even in regular use in the English language. Families were generally much larger and extended families larger still. Most people lived in villages or on farms where they knew almost everyone around them. There was regular and deep interaction across all age groups.
Further insight into the epidemic of loneliness and social isolation: After spending nearly two years indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no surprise that millions of Canadians came out the other side feeling lonely, isolated and anxious.
Buddy Chat at play poster
Two page brochure