Best Practice Guidance
Human Interaction with Technology in Dementia


Practical, cognitive & social factors to improve usability of technology for people with dementia

Technologies are increasingly vital in today’s activities in homes and communities. Nevertheless, little attention has been given to the consequences of the increasing complexity and reliance on them, for example, at home, in shops, traffic situations, meaningful activities and health care services. The users’ ability to manage products and services has been largely neglected or taken for granted. People with dementia often do not use the available technology because it does not match their needs and capacities. This section provides recommendations to improve the usability of technology used in daily life, for meaningful activities, in healthcare and in the context of promoting the Social Health of people with dementia.
Technology in everyday life

Consider selling empowering products for people with dementia and carers and avoid stigmatizing stereotypes


Providers and marketers of ST should not communicate a wanderer with dementia discourse. Rather they should focus on useful person-centred products and communicate this in a non-stigmatising way towards family carers and people living with dementia in order to provide empowering products.

Explanations and examples

Surveillance Technology (ST), such as GPS tracking devices are used as a resilience tool to increase the safety and independence of people with dementia that portray people with dementia to sell such technologies in a way that encourages stereotypes and contribute to a misunderstanding of dementia. This in turn could also impact technology development. This qualitative research undertook three studies of production (who made what), audience reception (what do users need) and textual analysis (what media techniques are used to attract attention) focused on the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands. The production study examined 242 websites that sell ST and a wanderer discourse with dementia was found. These websites give minimum representation of people with dementia using technology but represent overburdened younger-female carers, who are in need for a locating safety product to covertly use for wandering people with dementia, children and pets. Relying on stereotypes and “not so useful” technology will hinder resilience for people with dementia. Rather, it may imply the continuous stigmatisation that occurs when people with dementia are stereotyped and disregarded as human technology users.

Type of evidence

Yvette Vermeer (INDUCT ESR1)

Review of surveillance technology sold online and their marketing techniques


Vermeer, Y., Higgs, P., Charlesworth. G. (2018) Marketing of surveillance technology in three ageing countries. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, 20, 2019(1):20-33

Vermeer, Y., Higgs, P. & Charlesworth, G. (2020) Selling surveillance technology: semiotic themes in advertisements for ageing in place with dementia, Social Semiotics,

Vermeer, Y. Analysing advertisements of older adults: controlling the senile back then and wanderers now? (submitted)

Vermeer, Y., van Santen, J., Charlesworth, G., & Higgs, P. (2020). People with dementia and carers online discussing surveillance. Journal of Enabling Technologies, 14(1), 55-70.

Vermeer, Y., Higgs, P., Charlesworth, G. (2019). Surveillance Technology in dementia care: implicit assumptions and unresolved tensions. In: N. Hendriks, K. Slegers, A. Wilkinson (eds.) DementiaLab 2019, Making design work: engaging with dementia in context. Springer International Publishing,, p101-113

Vermeer, Y., Higgs, P., & Charlesworth, G. (2019). What do we require from surveillance technology? A review of the needs of people with dementia and informal caregivers. Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering, 6.