With a view to helping seniors, BTC and the social enterprise Simbioza Genesis have joined forces to develop the first mobile application for older people in Slovenia, called Magda. Designed in line with the “all in one” principle, the app provides the kind of information and content seniors need on a daily basis to raise their quality of life, improve their activity, and enrich their social life in a simple and user-friendly way.
The new app is named after Magdalena, the grandmother of entrepreneur and initiator of the social enterprise Simbioza Žiga Vavpotič, who asked “What is www?” and launched the greatest intergenerational project in Slovenia, Simbioza. The app represents a new method of communicating with seniors, since it provides many important types of information in a user-friendly way, which takes into account what generation the users belong to. It is aimed at older people (seniors) with the intention of helping them use new technologies, bring them closer to different opportunities that can facilitate and increase their independence, inform them, give them access to diverse content, and foster social inclusion. The app was launched at a time when the distress and the challenges faced by seniors are heightened due to new circumstances resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the features of the Magda app are “SOS numbers”, where all emergency contacts are stored in one place, “News”, which summarizes all the latest news that is relevant to seniors (prepared by Simbioza Genesis in collaboration with their partners), and “Info”, where users can find information about many different vendors and service providers (for example, information about free transportation, pharmacies, post offices, administrative offices and libraries), which users can contact simply by clicking the “Call” button provided in the app; they can also filter them by location. Then there is the “Classroom” section, which provides diverse educational content focused on domestic activities, such as gardening and cooking (including new recipes), as well as video lessons on computer and IT use, and a “Gym” section with exercise videos made by elite coaches, which are adapted to seniors so they can perform them safely at home. There is also a “Radio” category, where users can listen to different radio stations within the app, and an “Events” section, which lists live and digital events aimed at seniors all across Slovenia.
Upon the launch, Damjan Kralj, M.Sc., the CEO of BTC, said: “Solidarity, intergenerational cooperation and an understanding of the needs of other people are the generators propelling us to build a future in which we all would want to live. Today, during these times of a changing social and economic landscape, it is all the more important that we come together to safeguard an environment which provides access to information and the opportunity of lifelong learning to all generations in the spirit of integration and solidarity. Faced with such challenges, BTC has always responded attentively and has proactively created projects that bring added value to the broader community. One such project is the mobile app Magda, which BTC approached as a strategic partner, making the financial, organisational and substantive contributions necessary for the app to be launched and aid the empowerment of our grandfathers and grandmothers.“
The Magda mobile app is the first step on the path towards the education and empowerment of older people using smartphones. With the Magda project, Simbioza Genesis, which has in the past successfully carried out an all-Slovenian campaign aimed at teaching older people how to use computers, has made further headway in its mission. As soon as circumstances allow it, they will start a new all-Slovenian campaign called “Smart with Smart” (“Pametni s pametnim”), in which young volunteers from the Simbioza Genesis social enterprise will educate seniors about smartphone use at 150 locations all over Slovenia.
As Katja Pleško, Director of the social enterprise Simbioza Genesis, emphasised: “In terms of content, we developed Magda from the very beginning in cooperation with seniors, taking into account their ideas, proposals, needs and wishes. Magda isn’t just the first app for seniors in Slovenia; it is primarily a concrete answer addressing the specific needs of older users. Having developed this new mobile app, we remain devoted to social innovation and to identifying new products and services for seniors. They are certainly one of the most vulnerable social groups, who are having a particularly hard time with the rapidly growing and unstoppable development in technology, information and communication. Magda’s main purpose is to help seniors use new technologies and to bring them closer to new opportunities; with it, seniors will become better informed, more independent, and will have access to a variety of content.”
In the scope of the Magda project, BTC and Simbioza Genesis are also cooperating with other organisations. The effort undertaken by the Magda project has been recognised and endorsed, in an ambassadorial function, by the Ministry of Public Administration and the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the Republic of Slovenia, further reaffirming the importance of lifelong learning and the empowerment of older generations with new skills and information.
“At the Ministry of Public Administration we are glad that Magda is designed in a way that specifically teaches how digitalisation can have a beneficial effect on individual lives. It gives seniors access to various content and innovative solutions, supplies them with information and improves their independence. We believe that inclusion in our digital society can help those who already have some experience using modern technologies, as well as those who are just now taking their first steps into the information society,” said Minister of Public Administration, Boštjan Koritnik.
The Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Janez Cigler Kralj, emphasised: “One of the key priorities of my time in office is a comprehensive care for the elderly, which is why I support all efforts striving for the inclusion of seniors in society. It is incredibly important that they receive support in the shape of projects such as Magda. This new app provides all the crucial information older people need in one place and enables the digital networking of users. Similar to Čvekifon, which the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities endorsed this spring, the project aims to strengthen the feeling of interconnectedness and social inclusion of seniors. It is a socially beneficial project, especially in these times, when we have to abide by certain limitations for the good of us all. At the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities we are excited about it and support it.”
The Magda project has also garnered the support of the Pensioners’ Association of Slovenia, the humanitarian organisations Anina Zvezdica, Spominčica and UP-ornik, the radio stations Radio Veseljak, Radio Aktual, Radio Ognjišče, Radio Capris, Radio Štajerski Val, Radio Sraka and Radio Robin, the service provider website Omisli.si, sports expert Urška Dolinšek (Fitnes Klinika), the Računalniške novice website, many other small and medium-sized enterprises, and the City of Murska Sobota.
Dr. Aleksander Jevšek, Mayor of the City of Murska Sobota, accompanied the launch of the Magda mobile app with the following words: “As far as the future development of our municipality is concerned, Murska Sobota is putting people front and centre. With this in mind, we are also approaching projects that focus on digitalisation and smart solutions in the city, all to make the lives of our citizens as good as possible. The current epidemic has shown us just how important digital literacy truly is even late in life, as many older people experience great distress due to social exclusion. The City of Murska Sobota is therefore happy to endorse the Magda project and the mobile app for seniors, which should improve their social inclusion and enable them to spend their free time actively and well.”
BTC has long been active in co-shaping a social environment that provides equal chances and opportunities for all. They believe that care for a better tomorrow starts with every single individual, and only with solidarity and by understanding the needs of all generations can we brave the challenges posed by a new reality, joining forces to create a kind future for us all. The Magda mobile app is not only another socially responsible project, but a new milestone in the partnership between BTC and the social enterprise Simbioza Genesis, which has been pursuing its mission to help seniors for a number of years in the Simbioza BTC City Lab in BTC City Ljubljana.
The companies and other supporters of the Magda project are connected by shared values, specifically care for the vulnerable, intergenerational cooperation and integration, and the pursuit of lifelong learning.
Simbioza Genesis, social enterprise;
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Magda – mobile application for seniors