Dr. Theodore D. Cosco awarded funding to increase social connectedness amongst older adults

May 10, 2022

Dr. Theodore D. Cosco has been awarded funding to expand the impact of his research on increasing social connectedness amongst older adults

The Precision Mental Health Lab led by SFU’s Department of Gerontology Assistant Professor, Dr. Theodore D. Cosco received $25,000 in funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s (SSHRC) Connection Grants Competition, which was matched by the Michael Smith Health Research BC (Health Research BC), for a total of $50,000 in funding to support his mental health research.

Dr. Cosco’s project is titled: Mental health needs and technological interventions for social connectedness amongst older adults: Development of a multi-media knowledge mobilization ecosystem. As research surrounding population aging becomes more prevalent, it is clear that older adults are more prone to experiencing social isolation than any other demographic. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the utilization of videoconferencing and online communication platforms increased considerably. However, these platforms were not developed with the older adult in mind. As a result, the uptake of such platforms tends to reflect a younger demography. It will be critical to find innovative solutions to these challenges to foster greater social connectedness.

The aim of this project is to bridge the digital divide that older adults experience to reduce social isolation and loneliness. Through building a knowledge mobilization ecosystem, knowledge users (older adults, community centre staff, social system policy makes, and researchers) will be able to implement and disseminate knowledge products, such as evidence informed videos to promote knowledge translation, using technology. Ensuring that research findings are distributed across these target audiences is important to enable the exchange of knowledge in outreach initiatives.

The funding provided by the SSHRC and Health Research BC will facilitate the creation of digital, traditional, and multimedia knowledge products and aid in long-term research activities. The dissemination of research results is expected to take place in Spring 2023.

For more information on Dr. Cosco’s research, click here.