The PRISM clinical field trial to enhance well-being of older adults at risk for social isolation
Computer User Training
Consumer Health Information
Health Services Accessibility
Purpose: An increasingly important public health issue is ensuring that the growing population of older adults has the capacity to live independently and enjoy a good quality of life. Technology holds promise in terms of providing support to older people and enhancing their capacity to live independently. The objective of the PRISM trial is to gather rigorous evidence about the value of a technology application, the Personal Reminder Information and Social Management System (PRISM), which is designed for older adults to support social connectivity, memory, knowledge about topics, leisure activities, and access to resources. Method: The study design was a three-site randomized field trial. Following a baseline assessment, which included measures of demographics, health, prior technology experience, computer attitudes and proficiency, cognitive abilities, social support, and well-being, participants were randomly assigned to the PRISM condition or a Binder condition. Follow-up assessments occurred at 6 and 12 months post randomization. Participants also received a telephone interview at 18 months. Results & Discussion: Three hundred adults (aged 64-98 years) were randomized into the trial (150 participants in each condition). The sample is predominantly female, ethnically diverse, and from lower income strata. Although the majority of the sample population had minimal or no prior computer/internet experience, we were able to train all participants in the use of PRISM. The initial data indicate that the participants assigned to the PRISM condition enjoyed using the software and perceived it as valuable. They indicated that using PRISM facilitates their ability to connect or re-connect with family and friends, access community resources, and find information about topics of interest. The data also indicate that using PRISM resulted in re- duced feelings of social isolation and enhanced social support. Overall the data suggest that technology holds promise in terms of enhancing the well-being of older adults.