It happens to a lot of older adults: Losing a partner. While most older adults mourn for some time and then continue their lives, another group of older adults cannot process this loss properly and experience prolonged grief. Prolonged grief, on its turn, leads to other health problems, such as loneliness, cardiovascular problems, and depression. The LEAVES project will result in an online service that supports older adults in processing their loss. It will use a combination of online, blended and offline services to help the older adult and to determine the onset of mental problems early on.
In the first part of the project, we will develop a service model for the LEAVES service that explains how the older adults starts using it and what the roles of care professionals will be. This will be done together with older adults, care professionals, and informal carers. At the same time, we will develop a Virtual Agent (a digital person) that will provide an official grief program, and that will provide cues to reminisce about the person that is lost. We will also develop a means to see how an older adult is doing. If this is not well, they will be guided towards seeing a care professional. The resulting technology will be implemented in the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Portugal and tested for clinical effect and whether or not people like it (and why). At the same time, the LEAVES partners will develop means to bring the service to the market. This will be different for each country, as care professionals involved, and financing structures are different per country. All the while, we will share our scientific findings and publish results in popular media.
Expected results and impact
The impact that the project hopes to achieve on wellbeing, focuses on, for example, decreasing grief symptoms, and prolonged grief (with a reduction from 25% (average rate) to 17.5%). At the end of the project, we aim to have at least three opportunities for exploitation, whereby a preferred supplier (a large company or organizations focused on psychiatric care) for the service for each country is present in the consortium. It is the goal to have a marketable product ready by the end of the project that will be expanded with personalization features in the years that follow.