Toronto Metropolitan University

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A qualitative study of the usability and likeability of a virtual group-based social support program for older adults in residential care

journal contribution
posted on 2024-04-10, 17:00 authored by Geneva Millett, Giselle Franco, Alexandra FioccoAlexandra Fiocco

Objectives: Despite social engagement being a robust predictor of wellbeing for older adults living in residential care, social programming ceased during the COVID-19 pandemic to abide by social distancing guidelines. Consequently, a tablet-based program called the Java Music Club-Digital (JMC-D) was developed. The JMC-D enables residents to engage with peers through discussion and singing from the safety of their own rooms. This study investigated the likability and usability of the JMC-D for older adults living in residential care and recreation staff.

Methods: Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and focus groups with seven residents and three recreation coordinators. Interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results: Three themes emerged: 1) Addressing a need, 2) Factors that affect virtual social connection, and 3) Usability. Interest in future participation in the JMC-D program varied depending on certain personal characteristics including comfort with computers, openness to new experiences, and existing social network.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that the JMC-D is likeable and usable for residents and recreation coordinators.

Clinical implications: Study findings can be applied by researchers and residential care staff who wish to increase the use of virtual social programs to improve the psychosocial health of residents. Constructive feedback was incorporated into the platform.




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