Affiliation: OHSU Oregon Center for Aging and Technology
Funding Period: 2011 - 2015
Funding Source: NIA
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We will examine whether frequent conversations could improve thinking abilities among the elderly. In order to determine the efficacy of available technologies we can use for our investigation, we will conduct the study in four phases. The first three phases are pilot phases that will help us test technology and procedures to be sure that we conduct our final phase, Study 4, as efficiently and effectively as possible. In Study 1, we want to find out how long the elderly (age 75 and older) talk on average during a two day period, and how effective our Mobile Audio Recorder (MAR) device will be at determining this. In Study 2, we want to determine whether our video phone interaction technology is easy for our participants and clinicians to use. We will also be able to implement several types of interaction in this phase – conversation, personality and mental state assessments – to determine which to use in our main study phase. In Study 3, we will collect an anonymous survey from local elders to get a better idea of the average levels of social engagement over a large group. This will provide context for the results of our main study. Finally, we will use the results of all three of these early studies to conduct the main study (Study 4), where we will test whether frequent conversation using video phone technology has a positive effect on thinking abilities in the elderly.