Social Augmentation to Self-Guided Electronic Delivery of the Life Enhancing Activities for Family caregivers – A Socially Enhanced, Online Intervention for Alzheimer’s Caregivers


The role of providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can expose friends and family caregivers to significant stress over an extended period of time, resulting in a host of negative outcomes like increased depression and anxiety, and diminished quality of life. However, previous studies have found that positive emotion regulation interventions may be helpful for individuals coping with chronic stress. In this series of 3 studies, we designed and tested SAGE LEAF, a socially enhanced, online intervention for Alzheimer’s caregivers. The intervention leverages a range of social features (e.g. social notifications, podcasts, videos, discussion boards, user profiles, etc.) to foster a sense of social presence among participants. In the first study, we performed a review of commercially available eHealth interventions to develop a taxonomy of social features that informed the design of our intervention. 5 categories of social features emerged: 1) synchronous communication features, 2) asynchronous communication features, 3) social presence features, 4) affiliation & identity features, and 5) other social integration features. In the second study, we gathered qualitative feedback about potential social features from interviews with participants who completed a prior version of the intervention and focus groups with caregivers and providers. Finally, we incorporated this feedback into the design of the SAGE LEAF intervention, and pilot tested the intervention with 15 caregivers. The results of the pilot trial suggest a high level of feasibility and acceptability for the SAGE LEAF intervention, demonstrating its potential for broader dissemination for Alzheimer's caregivers.

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