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2007 Grant - Sorocco
Evaluation of an Internet-Based Caregiver Support System in Rural Settings
Kristen H. Sorocco, Ph.D.
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
2007 New Investigator Research Grant
Caregiving for people with Alzheimer's disease is particularly difficult for those living in rural areas because they typically have less access to resources, such as services offered by the Alzheimer's Association. Internet-based software exists to help caregivers who are responsible for someone who lives at some distance from them.
Dr. Kristen H. Sorocco, Ph.D., and her team will test whether this software can help caregivers in rural areas get greater access to support services. The group will work with 40 people who are caring for a spouse with moderate dementia in rural, western Oklahoma. Half of them will receive services through the Alzheimer's Association Central Oklahoma chapter, which is some distance away, and half will receive the Internet software, as well as a loaned computer. The second group will receive services that are typically only available in urban areas, such as help facilitating family meetings and situation-specific education.
Caregivers in both groups will participate in the study for four months and will be assessed throughout the program. The researchers will compare results to see if the caregivers with the computer program had better mental health and decreased caregiver stress than those receiving traditional help. The findings will help determine the effectiveness of delivering important services offered by groups like the Alzheimer's Association via the Internet to people in rural areas.