Here is the CMT Uptime check phrase
Funded Research

Virtual Convoys: A Social VR Approach to Reducing ADRD risk among Older Adults Living Alone

This K01 proposes interdisciplinary mentoring and targeted career development activities customized to ensure my successful transition from conducting mentored, basic social science research to independent research in the area of technological interventions research. Specifically,the candidate (Dr. Jess Francis) proposes to conduct feasibility and acceptability studies for a virtual rality (VR) intervention to reduce the risk of Alzheimers disease and related dementias (ADRD) among older adults who live alone. The candidates future career goal is to is to become an independent researcher conducting research in the areas of a) technological interventions and b) improving cognitive health of older adults. Career Development/Training Aims: To accomplish these goals the candidate needs training in: a) understanding the foundations and principles in VR desigh; b) assessment in cognition and cognitive neuroscience; and c) design and implementation of VR-based interventions.Training Environment: The candidates home base is in the worlds largest academically-based social science institute. The resources available to the candidate at the Institute for Social Research as well as the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research offer an environment of unparalleled research support. Research Aims: Nearly one-third of older adults (age 65+) in the United States are aging alone. Those who experience social isolation are significantly more likely to develop ADRD. VR is gaining recognition as a means to promote cognitive health as well as a means to connect with our social network. There is a need to understand the capabilities of VR to address cognitive health through the pathway of social connection among older adult. Aim 1) Conduct a series of semi-structured interviews to understand the social convoys and primary uses of technology for older adults living alone and identify perceptions and needs related to VR, cognitive health, independent living. Aim 2) Conduct a series of feasibility and acceptability observational studies using VR headset technology on social, physical, and cognitive outcomes. To achieve this aim we will conduct a series of feasibility and acceptability of methods, protocol, and logistical issues related to social head-mounted VR use to mitigate social isolation and promote cognitive health. Aim 3) Post-test semi-structured interviews to promote co-creation of protocol and informational materials for the implementation of Social VR technology for older adults cognitive health. Impact: The short tearm impact of this research will be to collect feasibility and acceptability data to inform the submission of an NIH R21 to collect pilot data and eventually an NIH R01 to test the efficacy and effectiveness of a social VR-based intervention to promote cognitive health among older adults living alone. The long-term impact of this research will be to develop novel and innovative interventions to reduce the incidence of ADRD and promote independent living through VR enabled social interaction among older adults living alone.


Health and Human Services, Department of-National Institutes of Health

Funding Period:

05/15/2024 to 04/30/2029