Our vision is a world in which loneliness doesn’t exist. We are achieving this by connecting isolated people to those who matter most to them. We are starting with the elderly as Visbuzz was developed when our founder Steve wanted a way to help his isolated, and very lonely, mum.
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I noticed that my widowed mum was becoming less mobile and less motivated to travel or to be disrupted from her normal life. Her family is spread around the country and, although they all did their best, no one could be with her all of the time. She was fiercely independent, wanting to stay in her own home, and this was also bringing with it the inevitable isolation. Faced with the prospect of years of trying to balance the needs of my family, my business and my independent mother, I tried many ways to help her and also to reduce my guilt at not being able to be with her all the time. Carers and Community workers could easily cater for her physical needs however it was the psychological and emotional needs that I wanted to provide for; she needed to be included and connected to those who mattered most to her.
Regular visits from family resulted in her experiencing great peaks of happiness followed, once the family departed, by deep troughs of unhappiness and depression. In reality, no visits at all would have been a more stable way to maintain her health. However, this is a family situation, so a regular series of visits continued with the inevitable result for my mum’s health and the deepening sense of guilt for me and my siblings.
Finally I decided I needed to find a solution that increased my access to my mum without her needing to do anything she would be worried about, or would not be used to. I installed a computer screen in her house and made it look as though it was only a small TV screen (no mouse and no keyboard). I loaded a series of standard and non-standard software on to it and then I could remotely control her computer from my own home. I enabled video conferencing, amongst other things, and I could initiate this without my mum needing to interact in any way with the device.
Now Mum and I could have a video call whenever we wanted to, and could be together all day. We didn’t need always need to speak or do anything because just being there was enough. Sharing the system with my siblings really enhanced my mum’s life, increased her happiness and reduced her susceptibility to illness and bouts of depression.
Having proved that it worked I looked for a stable, robust and commercially available model/system. I couldn’t find any that were very simple to use, functional and targeted at connection and inclusion, so I decided to build one so that anyone, young or old, who is isolated, infirm, technologically unsure, or socially unsure, could gain from all the benefits that inclusion and connection brings.
At no time does the person using Visbuzz ever have to use a keyboard or mouse or any computer paraphernalia; they just touch the screen as required.
Steve McNulty – Visbuzz Founder.
Many older people alone and feel socially isolated. View more information on the statistics that inspired Visbuzz to do what they do.