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LEAVES annual report: 2022

What is LEAVES?

It is a situation that many older adults have to face: Losing one’s partner. Despite experiencing intense grief, most older adults are able to cope with the loss and to rebuild their life. Others still experience severe grief symptoms after a long time and are at risk for consequences like depression, loneliness, or, in the worst case, suicide. LEAVES is an online service that helps older adults process the loss of their partner. In LEAVES, mourners can read about grief, do grieving exercises and receive advice for rebuilding their life. At the same time, the mental health of the mourner is monitored and, if necessary, professional help is recommended.

What have we done in 2022?

After two years of developing the LEAVES service together with the main end-users, the focus of this final year was on the real-life evaluation of the service in Switzerland, Portugal and the Netherlands, the exploitation of LEAVES after the project period, and the dissemination of the LEAVES project. After receiving the needed medical ethical permission, we could start inviting older mourners to try out LEAVES. In total, 96 older mourners were recruited and completed the baseline questionnaire in the Netherlands. A lot of time and effort has gone into the recruitment of participants for the real-life evaluation in Switzerland and Portugal. The former decided to keep the recruitment open until their inclusion goals were met, even after the project period. At this moment, 58 participants are included. The Portuguese team decided to change their study design and reached their adjusted recruitment goal of 30 participants at the brink of 2023. Based on the results of this evaluation, recommendations for improvement to the LEAVES service were formulated, such as reformulating some of the content to create a warmer atmosphere in the application, and leveraging other media formats apart from text, such as video recordings of professionals explaining the grief content. Right from the start, project partner DELA expressed its interest in exploiting the LEAVES prototype. In 2022, they drafted a path to obtain the necessary legal documents to hand over the ownership of the LEAVES prototype to DELA. Most steps are already performed, except for the final decision of DELA to continue this path which will be taken after the project ends. In 2022, the LEAVES consortium was very successful in the dissemination of the completed and ongoing tasks by means of radio interviews, conference contributions and scientific papers.

The LEAVES team says Thank You!

The LEAVES project may have ended, but we are always eager to meet interested and likeminded 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

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