Technological interventions for loneliness and social isolation among older adults: a scoping review protocol

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Abstract

Background: Loneliness and social isolation are prevalent public health concerns among community-dwelling older adults. One approach that is becoming an increasingly popular method of reducing levels of loneliness and social isolation among older adults is through technology-driven solutions. This protocol outlines a research trajectory whereby a scoping review will be initiated in order to illustrate and map the existing technological approaches that have been utilized to diminish levels of loneliness and social isolation among community-dwelling older adults aged 60 years or older. We will address the question: what are the most common and less used technological approaches to reduce loneliness and social isolation among community-dwelling older adults? Methods: A scoping review of Academic Search Premier, AGEline, Global Health, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Web of Science databases will take place using our search terms including the following: loneliness, social isolation, older adults, elderly, Aged, Aged 80 and over, program, evaluation, trial, intervention, technology, computer, information and communication technology, internet, and robot. The initial electronic search will be supplemented by reviewing the reference lists and review articles to identify any missing studies. To meet study inclusion criteria, intervention studies had to pertain to community-dwelling adults aged 60 years or older, include technological interventions, include loneliness and/or social isolation as outcome variables, and be written in the English language. Two parallel independent assessments of study eligibility will be conducted for the title, abstract, and full-text screens. Any disagreement will be resolved by consensus and a third reviewer consulted to make a decision if consensus is not achieved initially. Finally, the amalgamation of results will be an iterative process whereby reviewers will refine the plan for presenting results after data extraction is completed so that all of the contents of the extraction may be included in the results. Discussion: The information gleaned in this scoping review will be essential to understand the degree to which technological interventions influence social isolation and loneliness among older adults and identify gaps for further research.

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Wister, A., Fyffe, I., & O’Dea, E. (2021). Technological interventions for loneliness and social isolation among older adults: a scoping review protocol. Systematic Reviews, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-021-01775-6

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