In the context of COVID-19 and the imposed regulations of physical distancing to “flatten the curve”, the prevalence of social isolation and loneliness of aging Canadians has dramatically increased.
The Java Music Club is an evidence-based peer support program developed by Dr. Kristine Theurer, founder of Java Group Programs. This program has been shown to foster social engagement and well-being in seniors living in residential care. This group-based peer-support program has been successfully implemented in over 1100 communities in Canada and the USA.
However, due to COVID-19, thousands of vulnerable seniors who have benefited from this program are now left without social outlets and effective programming. To help respond to the current pandemic, and potential future outbreaks, Java Group Programs is partnering with Revera and researchers from George Brown College and Ryerson University to develop and test a digital Java Music Club (JAVAGROUPS-digital) that may provide emotional support for isolated seniors.
This collaboration was funded through Mitacs. Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit research and training organization dedicated to advancing collaborations between industry, academia and government in Canada, and to fostering international research networks between Canadian universities and the world.
The collaboration has 2 objectives: (1) to develop and assess the digital tablet-based adaptation of the Java Music Club, and (2) to assess implementation of the JAVAGROUPS-digital program in three Revera homes over a 6-week period using a mixed-methods design. This project will serve as the foundation for a larger intervention study to assess the immediate and longer-term benefits of the JAVAGROUPS-digital.
Stay tuned for more on this exciting project!