What the need is: As human beings we all crave to be loved and cared for. We find support in friends, family and other peer groups we come into contact with in our daily lives.
Who has this need: Our elderly too have this need as much as if not more as us. But they are not as physically or socially active as the younger population. This is especially visible in the old-old (75-84 years) and oldest-old (85+ years) groups i.e. people above 75 years of age. And hence they feel left out and uncared for. There are also instances of the elderly facing abuse at their own homes
Why this need is not well addressed through existing design: The existing systems in place i.e. personal nursing services, e-services on smartphones and so on cannot provide care on a personal, empathetic and trustworthy level.
The digital interfaces are not designed keeping the aged users in mind and thus they find those difficult to use.
Whether this need confirms or challenges existing stereotypes about older users: We identified the stereotype that older people are expected to stay home and make themselves useful or help with taking care of the little ones. The society fails to recognize that they too are one of us and have their own desires and requirements which they can fulfill with proper care and support.
And some literature on Care and Carers: http://www.ncaop.ie/publications/research/reports/19_CaringfortheElderly_Part2.pdf