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A team of researchers from Western University is looking to interview people for a new study focused on making it easier for older adults to stay in touch through video technology. The team wants to learn about your thoughts and experiences using technology to connect with family/friends to make it more user-friendly. The ultimate goal is to help decrease loneliness and social isolation and thereby improve the quality of life for older adults who are physically separated from their support networks.

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) such as 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 researchers are looking to interview:   

  • Older adults (65+) with no or little experience with digital technology. Older adults who are familiar and comfortable with this type of technology do not qualify for the study.  
  • Friends or relatives of older adults who would video-visit (more) with them if the older adult could use the technology or use it more easily.  
  • Individuals who provide (or have provided) tech support to help an older adult in their life connect socially via tech. 


Interviews will be conducted over synchronous video technology so technical support for older adults who want to participate will be necessary. Interviews will take place between now and the end of May 2021. Participants will be compensated $50 for their time.

Contact information:
To learn more about the study and whether you qualify, call 519-661-2111 ext. 84654 or email   

Lead Investigator:
Leora Swartzman.
Ph.D. C. PsychAssociate Professor
Clinical Practicum Coordinator
Department of Psychology, Western University
westernuniversity

For more details

  • Letter of Information and Consent for Older Adults  - Click here
  • Letter of information and consent  for friends family and those providing tech support to older adults   - Click here

 

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poster western u study

 

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