BACK TO All Work

This Time

Find your ideal, love yourself

MA 2023
Love and self-esteem, Intimacy relationship, Ageism, Mature group, Board game

There is a notion that older people shouldn’t, couldn’t and wouldn’t want to be intimate in UK.

Physical ageing is just one of the limitations brought to them by age, and It is true that physical functions decline with age, but this does not mean that your basic needs as a human disappear with age, such as the pursuit and expression of love, intimacy and even sexuality. Age is just a number, but the impression it gives creates a lot of cognitive bias and ageism.

This Time is a socializing platform for older generation to create real dating value by exploring the value of intimacy and self-esteem in the community.

Achieved through creating a free and open community environment, meaningful mingle events, a series of quiz and testing clarify self-worth and a resource platform from which organizations can support and help single people exploring their own meaning of intimacy.



Relate is the largest provider of relationship support in England and Wales. They help millions of people every year to strengthen the relationships that mean the most to them.

The counsellors at Relate were actively supporting the project by offering their insights on intimate relationships and participating in brainstorms on how we could create meaningful and fun ways of exploring intimatcy.

No items found.


There is a notion that older people shouldn’t, couldn’t and wouldn’t want to be intimate in the UK

According to Dr Robert who is the current director of The Harvard Study of Adult Development, "The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80." A social survey focusing on people over 60 by AgeUK shows that the overall average happiness score for the UK’s entire older population is just over 50%. The factors that have the greatest negative impact on happiness are, first, illness or disability, and second, divorce or widowhood,

30% of people aged 55+ in England were single. Just as people do not know what the future holds, young people also do not anticipate what aging will mean for them. Their needs remain essentially the same, and according to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the need for love, belonging and self-esteem does not diminish with age. When the society become more concerned with the needs on survival and security of older people , they generally neglect the upper levels of emotional and even self-actualization needs.

And it is this neglect that leads to ageism and prejudice.


Limited space and opportunities

Ageism can lead us to see that many charities and community centers run community activities to address the loneliness of older people in the UK, while few activities or services help them build intimate relationships, given that 30% Of people aged 55+ in England were single. The content of the community activities, although intended to reach a wider group, ended up being mostly female because of the Gender differences on socializing, and causes gender separation.

Lack of emotional language

The invisible unfreedom is also reflected in their thoughts and expressions.

The divorce rate among those aged 55 or older has doubled since 2018 in the UK. And the reason is that many spouses find that their values and ambitions have changed over the years and opt for divorce in pursuit of personal happiness. But they are also afraid that the rules of dating have changed since they haven't been single for decades.

Compared to younger people, older people have fewer ways to meet and date, which are generally dancing , matchmaking groups and online dating.

Insufficient self-perception of value


Older people or, as we can call them, “the mature group”, are not so popular in the dating market because of their age, as men are more interested in younger women as well as women are more interested in younger men. This impression means on the surface that people resist the state of growing old, but essentially it reflects the fact that they may not know what they want and are blindly seeking approval and vanity. And for their intimacy as well, they might not know what kind of intimate relationship they really want because it can be changed from younger (55-75) to older (over85) and they haven't got the chance to recognize that.


How can we change “meaningless” into “meaningful”

Under this circumstance, Mature group’s need for intimacy still drives them to socialise or attend dating activities, creating a 'meaningless socialising': it consists of three components. 

From their real needs, although they have experienced a lot in relationships, they tend to imagine their need as the material background and personality traits of an ideal partner when they’re dating,

In terms of context, gender segregation and the general community environment do not provide a good semantic to help them 'have chemistry' with each other, 

For interaction, intergenerational differences in communication styles make it difficult to understand each other's real needs and to communicate them in depth with a simple and programmed conversation like "tell me about yourself/what’s your habits”, resulting in a lack of self-acceptance and a sense of value in their intimate relationships, which in turn affects their well-being in life.


How can we change “meaningless” into “meaningful”?

How can we help mature singles meet and explore intimacy through more meaningful mingle events and build their self-worth value to enhance their well-being?


When we talk about building 'meaningful mingle events', that’s where our strategy landed on and also a starting point.

If they communicate more freely and openly under the influence of a ‘particular social environment, and in the process, through deep but non-stereotypical interaction, build a perception and judgement of intimacy and self-worth, so that ultimately they build a perception and understanding of intimacy and the pursuit of self-happiness and satisfaction



For the physical spaces of the event, the event needs to be held in a more public and natural setting, such as a coffee shop, restaurant, bar, etc. 

For the semantic space I have also designed posters and a social dating code in the set to help people better understand the intimacy-related communication that can take place in the current environment.


The topic of intimacy can make older people feel uncomfortable, especially in the public environment, and we wanted them to be able to communicate in a freer and more natural way. Imagine the 'social king/queen' who is able to steer the conversation by asking natural questions and teasing others with a sense of humor. In a dating environment, any third party guidance would be awkward, so we abstracted the “social queen” character into a fun board game mode, using the cards as a vehicle to get the two parties into a more natural 'game' state and therefore more relaxed. Instead of simply answering questions, I designed a series of simple and fun interaction methods such as Bingo and Truth or Dare to enhance playfulness.


When meaningful mingle events are established, the value of the platform based on this is not only the activities themselves, but also helping users to build their own self-worth perception and intimacy perception in the process. With the establishment evaluations, articles and resources, other club activities and review on self-awareness and intimacy, we can help them to think about the needs of both parties in relationship.

The evaluation is a series of Intimacy Needs Test questions based on positive psychological theory to help users better identify their needs. By answering questions “I feel more meaningful to me when I …” and choosing one scenario in two choices, we can see which kind of intimacy type they would prefer. After they finish this test, they receive a report which shows their intimacy type and expectation and get more suggestions on how they can cope with other types of people.


Provide better access

Offline activities and online resources build this service system, so the key of the business model is how to find and integrate online and offline resources. We work with many different types of partners and provide them with better access to users.

Our platform combines these individual resources into one system through online event recruitment and offline events. Considering the source of customers and promotional channels, our service have free professional assessment and advice content online and offline event promotion to attract users to attend events. Through an annual subscription or one-off payment model, we could allow users to pay for 'social activities that are valuable to them'. If they are interested in the board games used in the interaction process, users can also buy and play them on the platform and use them to create their own communication model.

Currently, there are many websites that offer intimacy content in combination with counseling services, but no offline activities to help people connect, and there are many board games that explore intimacy for younger people, but they are always sold individually without targeted user segmentation.

For game creation teams and consulting services, we offer them the opportunity to reach users more directly, increase exposure and sales; for local community shops and other event organizers, this online platform allows them to reach their local people and even surrounding community and offer a tool kit for them to hold these mingle events.

Reducing gender segregation, improving offline experiences and increasing self-esteem

We build channels through the community, Facebook groups, local groups and partners

The platform also provides information on how to participate in social events organized by other partners and works with them to focus events in certain public areas (such as parks or studios) so that users can participate in different activities. This allows users to naturally meet and interact afterwards. We collaborated with local Singles United and talked with the organizer, Mihkar, who is interested in that and willing to help, so we held the activity and so many people were interested in that and they all enjoyed it.

Therefore, there is value in freedom, engaging, and self-perception.

The service creates free and open environment for community, engaging and meaningful socializing for single mature groups and the self-worth exploring process of personal intimacy needs for each individual.


Many thanks to my tutor John Makepeace who helped me a lot during the whole project. Thanks to Judy Hallgarten, Roseline Fiatuse from North London Care, Hayley Conyers, Eneyi Kpokiri, Dan Wu, Tucker Joseph D from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Sarah, Helen Broomfield from Relate, Emily from Age UK, Matt Shearman from SAGA, Mihkar, Caroline, Roger, Lieve, Margiet, Fulu, David, Zinnette, Bryan, Linfeng and Jada from local community and RCA for co-creation and attending workshops together.

I've had a lot of encouragement and feedback from people throughout the project and have been involved in co-creating and iterating on my project, and I'm happy that more and more people realize how self-awareness and intimacy are changing as we age.

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance. Don't let age be a limitation.

No items found.
No items found.