Public health policy should more fully consider the undesired side effects of dementia prevention technologies and discourses which may reinforce the fear of dementia and imply a moral responsibility on people who cannot maintain cognition in later life due to the progression of the condition.
Explanation and Examples
A review of the literature shows there is little evidence for the effectiveness of Internet enabled cognitive training allowing for personal comparison with other users to prevent dementia. Furthermore, ethnographic research has generated evidence that engagement with it can act as a form of social exclusion by separating older people into those who have ‘successfully cognitively aged’ and those who have not. Indeed, the promotion of this technology implies an individual responsibility to stay cognitively healthy, implicitly reinforcing anxiety and blame around the condition and people who live with it. These side effects can reinforce the exclusion of people with the condition.
ThemesBrain training Dementia Social exclusion Successful ageing
Target groupsPolicymakers Researchers
Type of evidence
Literature review, Ethnography
Libert, S., Charlesworth, G., & Higgs, P. (n.d.). Cognitive decline and distinction: A new line of fracture in later life? Ageing and Society, 40(12), 2574-2592. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X19000734