An Online Community Intervention for Older Persons with Pre-Frailty and Frailty: Pilot Studies
Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC San Diego

UC San Diego Previously Published Works bannerUC San Diego

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

  • Author(s): Zaslavsky, Oleg;
  • Chu, Frances;
  • Ge, Shaoqing;
  • Teng, Andrew;
  • Lin, Shih-Yin;
  • Demiris, George;
  • Chen, Annie
  • et al.
Abstract

Abstract Online community interventions can support self-management in older populations but have rarely targeted symptomology of pre-frailty and frailty. To support older adults’ pre-frailty/frailty symptom management, we iteratively refined an approach entitled Virtual Online Community for Aging Life Experience (VOCALE) in three consecutive pilot studies (2018-2020). These studies employed asynchronous online discussions in which participants were asked to respond to weekly prompts. A study facilitator moderated the discussion, encouraging participants to respond to both the prompts and comments of other participants. In the first pilot (n=8), participants engaged in a collective exploration of different symptoms of pre-frailty and frailty. The second (n=10) and third (n=10) pilots employed a hybrid approach including collaborative exploration and learning of different problem-solving therapy skills over eight weeks. The mean age of participants of the three pilots combined was 80.6 (SD = 7.0). Most participants were female (71%). Participant attrition ranged from 20-25%. Many participants who completed the study noted that they enjoyed the discussions. The participants also found the moderators' follow-up questions and support timely and engaging. Additionally, we observed small but positive changes in self-efficacy measures. These pilot studies have confirmed that older adults with pre-frailty and frailty are interested, and can successfully engage in online community interventions, with the technical support and moderation provided, even during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, when lockdown policies were rolled out. Participation in the intervention was also associated with increased awareness of the need to be proactive in self-management concerning frailty-related symptoms.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View