Media parcels: facilitated media sharing to promote feelings of social connectedness in older adults

This project is an offshoot of the UK-Brazil network on assistive media for health and wellbeing in ageing.  It aims to apply a new behavioural monitoring system developed in Brazil to the problem of loneliness in older people.

Elderly man using a tablet

The ‘Experience Sampling and Programmed Intervention Method’ (ESPIM) was developed in the Computer Science Department of the University of Sao Paulo (USP). It is a multiplatform (web and mobile) application that is designed to be ‘programmed’ by healthcare professionals to collect data or provide information at particular times of day to support healthcare management.

In this project, the ESPIM platform will be programmed and evaluated as a way of facilitating media sharing and social contact between isolated older people and their close contacts. This novel application has the potential to increase social connectedness between all parties and alleviate feelings of loneliness. The system will be trialed with one or more families in both the UK and Brazil, allowing a cross-cultural comparison of its effects. 

The work will be led by Dr Isabela Zaine on a work placement at Digital World Research Centre starting in November 2017 for 6 months. The project will continue to run for a further 4 months in Brazil.  It will be co-supervised by David Frohlich at Surrey and Graça Pimentel at USP, and jointly funded by University of São Paulo and a FAPESP Research Scholarship abroad. 

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