Presentation Title

The Benefits of Technology for Older Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Project Collaborators

Jason T Garbarino (Key Personnel and Faculty Sponsor) and Laura C Lewis (Key Personnel and Faculty Sponsor)

Abstract

Pervasive feelings of social isolation and loneliness has been longstanding among older adults, but has achieved increased attention amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Programs to mitigate loneliness and facilitate meaningful connections despite our current circumstances are vital for physical and mental wellbeing. The purpose of this research study was to investigate older adult’s perceived benefits from participating in the Aging is Very Personal (AIVP) service-learning program in relation to feelings of social connectedness and social interactions. The AIVP service-learning program utilized structured interviews via Zoom between 55 older adults and 112 undergraduate students enrolled in an interprofessional Gerontology Course. Quantitative and qualitative survey data explored older adult participant’s experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as their perception of AIVP impact on feeling socially connected was collected. A thematic analysis of participant’s open-ended questions was conducted. Eighty-six percent of participants reported sessions had a positive impact on their mood and 71% shared weekly discussions made them feel socially connected. Additionally, 93% shared they enjoyed the program and would recommend this program to a friend. Students also found these interactions to be insightful and beneficial towards understanding of aging process Zoom interviews can considerably improve both mood and feelings of social connectedness.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Jason T Garbarino

Secondary Mentor NetID

lclewis

Secondary Mentor Name

Laura C Lewis

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Program/Major

Nursing

Primary Research Category

Health Sciences

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The Benefits of Technology for Older Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Pervasive feelings of social isolation and loneliness has been longstanding among older adults, but has achieved increased attention amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Programs to mitigate loneliness and facilitate meaningful connections despite our current circumstances are vital for physical and mental wellbeing. The purpose of this research study was to investigate older adult’s perceived benefits from participating in the Aging is Very Personal (AIVP) service-learning program in relation to feelings of social connectedness and social interactions. The AIVP service-learning program utilized structured interviews via Zoom between 55 older adults and 112 undergraduate students enrolled in an interprofessional Gerontology Course. Quantitative and qualitative survey data explored older adult participant’s experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as their perception of AIVP impact on feeling socially connected was collected. A thematic analysis of participant’s open-ended questions was conducted. Eighty-six percent of participants reported sessions had a positive impact on their mood and 71% shared weekly discussions made them feel socially connected. Additionally, 93% shared they enjoyed the program and would recommend this program to a friend. Students also found these interactions to be insightful and beneficial towards understanding of aging process Zoom interviews can considerably improve both mood and feelings of social connectedness.