Addressing social isolation in Long-term care
As people age, their social ties tend to weaken with fewer opportunities to meet with family and friends and enjoy their company. Increasing sense of isolation and deteriorating mood may compound mild cognitive decline that occurs in normal aging, with disease processes (e.g., dementia) further threatening cognition. Caregivers typically cannot provide the continuous support and activation that might significantly slow cognitive decline.
GENIE is an easy to use communications portal, allowing family members to stay connected with elderly loved ones who have challenges coping with the communication technologies (i.e. smart phones, tablets) as they exist today. Family members (remote users) download the GENIE app to their Android or iOS smart device and upload ongoing content as part of their normal activities and social media interaction. In addition to uploading media content that documents family activities, family members may also send voice and video messages, using asynchronous interactions that are less demanding and easier for family members to negotiate.
For the elderly loved one (resident-user), GENIE is designed with an easy to use interface where resident users are able access their messages and respond, as well as initiate with voice messages to family remote users. GENIE can allow institutional staff and administrators to send media content and messages (e.g., daily and weekly menus and activities, opportunities for excursions, volunteering) to resident users.
GENIE is in development and currently being trialed in these locations:
York Care Centre – Fredericton New Brunswick
Edgewater Gardens Long-term Care – Dunnville Ontario
Didsbury District Health Services – Didsbury Alberta