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Personalized Engagement Program (PEP)

Research background

The efficacy of computer-based interventions on improving cognitive performance in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is still uncertain. One possible reason for the variability in results seen in these computerized cognitive interventions may lie in the variability of the individuals using these programs, and not so much in the programs themselves. Namely, the variability in attitudes towards technology in general - with negative attitudes resulting in a decrease in engagement/use with the program.

Examples of computerized cognitive interventions 

To build on this person-centered approach, we are working with independent and assisted living facilities in the greater Rochester area to help us implement this approach more easily into the everyday lives of participants with mild cognitive impairment. All study-related activities occur on-site at participating living facilities. Our research team provides support for residents and staff (if needed), and conducts all on-site interviews with participants over the course of five months. Participants can receive up to $70 for their participation, in addition to their study assessment results.

Research aims

To address this, we propose using a psychosocial/technology-based intervention, aimed at improving attitudes and familiarity with technology, prior to participating in a computerized cognitive intervention. This 'first wave' person-centered intervention, called a personalized engagement program (PEP), offers a large database of leisure activities people can browse through and interact with, including topics such as music, trivia, games, spirituality, internet access, and many more. In this way, PEPs allow people to find things which are of interest to them, and helps build familiarity with technology in an easy-to-use program that can easily be implemented into their daily lives and routines. We believe that participating in a PEP intervention in the month prior to beginning a 6-week computerized cognitive intervention will improve attitudes towards technology and the training efficacy of the computerized cognitive intervention in individuals with MCI.

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