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Research Participant Recruitment: Making it easier for older adults to stay in touch through video-technology

May 1

The Psychology Department at Western University is conducting a needs-assessment project with the ultimate goal of making it easier for older adults to stay connected (through synchronous video technology) with the people they are close to when face-to-face contact is not possible. This study will involve qualitative interviews (over Zoom). 

The researchers are eager to hear from you if:

• You are an older adult who might connect (more) with loved ones if the tech was easy to use. OR

• There is an older adult in your life who you would video-visit (more) with if they could use the tech., or use it more easily OR

• You provide (or have provided) tech support to help an older adult in your life connect socially via tech.are looking to interview:

Participants will be compensated $50 for their time. Interviews will be conducted by the end of May 2021.

To learn more about the study and to find out if you qualify, call 661-2111 ext. 84654 or email video@uwo.ca.

For more information, refer to the Letters of Information and Consent provided below:

Letter of Information and Consent for Older Adults.

Letter of information and consent  for friends family and those providing tech support to older adults.

Rationale: Compared to their younger peers, older adults are being dealt a social ‘double whammy’ with the COVID-19 pandemic. They are under more stringent social distancing measures due to their increased physical vulnerability and less likely to adopt/make full use of technology to better connect with their social networks. Notably, older adults who do use technology see it as a good supplement to in-person contact when that contact is not possible. Synchronous video technologies (SVTs; e.g., Facetime, Zoom, Skype) are a better way to maintain social connection than audio or text.  However, Older Adults may reasonably choose not to adopt or continue using SVTs if the (perceived) costs outweigh the (perceived) benefits.  Accordingly, the technology must be designed and implemented to maximize benefit (i.e., meeting older adults’ needs) and minimize cost (monetary, psychological and time costs, and risks to privacy and autonomy.) The ultimate goal is to conduct a randomized controlled trial of synchronous video technology to decrease loneliness and social isolation and thereby improve the quality of life in OAs who are physically separated from their support networks. Strong evidence-based interventions undergo three phases: development, intervention and evaluation.  The current project is the development (i.e., needs assessment) phase. The researchers want to fully understand the issues to be addressed in the development and implementation of this technology: these include the usefulness and the usability of the technology. The premise is: “Unless technology is easy to use, it’s useless.” The researchers are focussing on the sub-population of Older Adults most likely to benefit from synchronous video technology, namely those who have: 1) the economic means and techno-infrastructure to use, 2)  a pre-existing social network to connect with, 3) the need to connect with that social network (i.e., are lonely), and 4) a social network able and willing to connect with them