The overall goal of this study is to implement and evaluate the impact of GENIE® on several psychosocial and health outcomes in older adults living in rural long-term care facilities in New Brunswick. The project is titled "Reconnecting with GENIE: Evaluating the Impact of a Telecommunications Portal on Social Isolation Experienced by Older Adults Living in Long-term Care in New Brunswick".
What is GENIE®?
GENIE is a standalone unit that includes individualized messaging platforms, media entertainment centers, and a community bulletin board, all designed to help older adults living in long-term care residences to maintain social connections with their families and community.
GENIE was originally developed in conjunction with Ambient Activity Technologies, the Centre for Innovation in Research and Aging, and York Care Centre in 2019. After a round of user-testing, it saw very promising results. This study will build upon those results by implementing GENIE on a provincial scale.
We anticipate there will be significant improvements in feelings of social isolation, loneliness, and social connectedness among older adults living in long-term care who use GENIE. We also anticipate seeing signs of improved (or slower declining) health outcome metrics since social isolation and depressive symptoms have been linked to negative health outcomes.
Outcomes among family members and long-term care staff who use GENIE may also be present. We anticipate that family members will feel less stress and worry about their loved-one living in long-term care because they will be able to have more independent contact with them. GENIE may also lessen the burden on overworked LTC staff by allowing older adults and family members to communicate directly.
This project is funded by the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project. The Healthy Seniors Pilot Project is a $75 million three-year agreement between the Government of New Brunswick and the Public Health Agency of Canada, jointly led by the Government of New Brunswick’s Department of Social Development and the Department of Health through the Aging Secretariat.