What is LEAVES? It is a situation that many older adults have to face: Losing one’s partner. This is a major event in life. You lose the person you have spent many years with, have built a life with, and that is a major part of yourself and your daily routine. Most older adults grief for some time, but are able to cope with the loss and able to rebuild their life. Others still experience severe grief symptoms after a long time and are not able to create a new daily routine. As a result, this group is at risk for consequences like depression, loneliness, or, in the worst case, suicide. LEAVES is an online service that helps older adults in dealing with the loss of their partner. Via a virtual agent, the older adult is taught how to grief, is offered grieving exercises and advice for rebuilding their life. At the same time, the mental health of the mourner is monitored and, if necessary, professional help is alerted. In the LEAVES project, this online service is developed and evaluated. Additionally, a plan is created to bring the service to the market.
What have we done in 2020?
In 2020, the three-year project started. We held a lot of sessions with older adult mourners and other people that might work with LEAVES or that might benefit from it (such as General Practitioners or municipalities). This was done to see what they want from LEAVES and so that we can develop a service that satisfies everybody’s interests. And by using this information, we can say how we should use the technology in the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Portugal. Who offers the service? What is the role of the mourner’s family? Etcetera. Then, we created the basics of the technology and created a first version. Everybody can use this version via this link: www.leaves- project.eu/demo We also tested this version with 13 older adults, to see what they like and don’t like about the general idea. Then, we developed a way to track the mental health of mourners. This way, we can see who can safely use LEAVES and who we should redirect to professional help (like the General Practitioner). Finally, we developed a set of visual designs for LEAVES. These will be put to the test in 2021.
Do you want to get into contact?
We are always eager to meet interested and like-minded people. Whether you are a mourner, a healthcare professional, somebody working in social care, or just as enthusiastic about the idea as we are; we would like to hear from you! The LEAVES team can be reached via www.leaves-project.eu/contact More information about the project, our results, and the option to subscribe to our newsletter can be found at our website: www.leaves-project.eu