An Online Community Intervention for Older Persons with Pre-Frailty and Frailty: Pilot Studies

A recent study featuring PISC Senior Scholar George Demiris, PhD, FACMI, evaluates whether online community interventions can support self-management in older populations with pre-frailty and frailty. From 2018 to 2020, the Virtual Online Community for Aging Life Experience was refined in three consecutive pilot studies. The refined approach was tested in an elderly population of 71% women with a mean age of 80.6 years old. In the first study, participants engaged in an exploration of pre-frailty and frailty symptoms. In the second and third studies, participants engaged in an exploration of symptoms as well as problem-solving therapy skills.

Results indicate that the study had an overall positive effect. Participants stated that they enjoyed discussions with the moderators, and received timely and engaging follow-up questions and support. Additionally, the study was associated with increased proactivity in self-management of frailty-related symptoms. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for online interventions has grown tremendously. This study demonstrates the significant impact online interventions can have on the lives of older adults with pre-frailty or frailty.

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