Stay Connected: Testing an Intervention to Combat COVID-19 Related Social Isolation Among Seattle-area Older Adults

  • days left to enroll
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of Washington
Updated on 27 July 2021
depressed mood


This study will use the University of Washington's ALACRITY Center's (UWAC) Discover, Design, Build, & Test (DDBT) method to develop and test an intervention to address the MH health needs of older adults in senior housing who are forced to not only shelter-in-place but cannot have family or other visitors during this time. Older people (those over 60 years in age) are especially vulnerable and are more likely to have severe - even deadly - coronavirus infection than other age groups. These facts led to the need to have older adults socially isolate in order to protect their health; visits with family and friends are limited, and in senior housing (independent, supported and assisted care residences) have limited such visits by family to one person a day. This necessary practice of social distancing, while addressing an important public health crisis, unintentionally creates social isolation and loneliness, another deadly epidemic amongst the older population. Even before COVID-19, social isolation and loneliness was a prominent mental health and social problem in the aged, one that is associated with increases in other chronic conditions, dementia and suicide. Effective interventions for social isolation exist but are difficult to access and may not address all the concerns older adults have about this particular period of social isolation. The purpose of this proposed study is to deploy an adaptation of Behavioral Activation Therapy called Stay Connected to treat depression in older adults. The adaptation will allow activity directors and staff in these settings and senior centers to deliver the therapeutic elements of the intervention (behavioral activation) in the context of social distancing/shelter-in-place policies. Social workers in these settings will oversee the activity director and staff delivery of the intervention. The investigators are working with a variety of senior housing types (HUD certified and private systems) and senior centers in Skagit (rural) and King (urban) counties of WA so that the resulting intervention is not tied to economic levels or access to digital technology.


Staff and residents from 6 rural and urban senior communities or senior centers will participate in this study. Senior communities or senior centers will be randomized to receive training and materials in either Stay Connected or a resource guide. The investigators will work with 2 staff from each community or senior center and conduct baseline, 4 week and 9 week assessments with staff and 20 residents from each community setting (N=12 staff and 120 residents).

Condition Loneliness, Endogenous depression, Depression, ANXIETY NEUROSIS, Anxiety, Depressed, Anxiety Symptoms, Anxiety Disorders, depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, depressed mood, miserable, depressive disorders, anxious
Treatment Treatment As Usual, Stay Connected
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04966910
SponsorUniversity of Washington
Last Modified on27 July 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Staff members in administration, social work, and/or activities department in Seattle area senior living communities or senior centers
Physical ability to complete training in intervention and complete questionnaires by phone, computer, or video-chat technology

Exclusion Criteria

Non-English speaking
Unable to physically or cognitively consent and/or participate in study procedures via phone, computer, and/or video call (e.g., Zoom)
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