de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging

dTC Pilot Projects

Virtual Online Community for Aging Life Experience (VOCALE) – Oleg Zaslavsky

This project seeks to develop a new social media platform to facilitate communication with and between older adults about their bodily experience concerning frailty symptoms. The project will collect data via the discussion platform, enabling us to incorporate older adults’ perspectives into the existing body of knowledge on frailty. Our approach involves two parts: creating a safe and stimulating environment for knowledge collaboration, and methods for analyzing and organizing the contributed information to facilitate re-use. The methods used in this study have been used in our preliminary studies. The proposed research will facilitate progress towards multiple objectives. First, this study will allow us to evaluate the feasibility of collecting personal narratives from older adults about their frailty-related experiences via the newly developed online participatory platform. Second, the collected data will enable us to add to our existing knowledge on frailty, both conceptually and through the development of a patient-informed repository of self-management strategies. Lastly, we hope to use the data collected from this study as a foundation for the NIH grant proposal to collect data on patients’ experiences of frailty on a larger scale and build a foundation for self-management interventions.

Caring for Caregivers; Intervention to Improve Dementia Caregiver Self-Care – Tatiana Sadak

Perceived caregiving role strain, independent of actual caregiving demands, may be one of the primary determinants of negative caregiver outcomes, decreased quality of life and increased all-cause mortality. Engagement in self-care behaviors mitigates perceptions of caregiver strain and improves caregiver outcomes (eg. depression, anxiety). Therefore, self-care behaviors are crucial, potentially lifesaving intervention targets for dementia caregivers. Although successful interventions exist for improving individual self-care behaviors, progress in research is limited by the absence of  measures of self-care as a dynamic, multi-domain comprehensive construct.  To bridge this gap, we recently developed and validated “Managing Your Own Wellness” the first comprehensive measure that captures dementia caregiver self-care behaviors from day-to-day and during periods of caregiving crisis; and have used this measure to frame a study of dementia caregiver resilience. The goal of this proposal is to pilot test and culturally tailor an intervention to enhance self-care behaviors. This work will lay foundations for a new generation of caregiver interventions that address the full scope of caregiver self-care needs and will guide the development of an R01 proposal (PA-17-062, Win. 2020).