Best Practice Guidance
Human Interaction with Technology in Dementia

Recommendations

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

Play video

Guidance

Service providers should counter the stigmatising effect of not having access to, or not being a skilled user of, Everyday Technologies, for people with dementia and consider strategies to enhance participation, providing offline and online choices for all public services.

Explanation and Examples

Interviews were performed with 128 older people with and without dementia in the UK, and 69 people with and without dementia in Sweden. In both the UK and Swedish studies, people with dementia reported significantly lower use of Everyday Technologies compared to older people without dementia. People with dementia also reported significantly lower participation in places and activities within public space. Reduced ability to use Everyday Technologies was linked to reduced participation in places visited and activities within public space for people with dementia. Community-based consultations with older people with and without dementia across London showed that Everyday Technologies can provide opportunities to participate in services, e.g. eHealth and online banking. However, without face-to-face or written options (e.g. offline), people with dementia are at risk of stigma associated with digital exclusion. Barriers to participation in their everyday lives can lead to social isolation.

Type of evidence

Sophie Gaber (INDUCT ESR3)

Cross sectional quantitative studies, literature review & multilevel stakeholder consultations.

References

Gaber, S. N., Nygård, L., Brorsson, A., Kottorp, A., & Malinowsky, C. (2019). Everyday Technologies and Public Space Participation among People with and without Dementia. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 86(5), 400–411. https://doi.org/10.1177/0008417419837764

Gaber, S. N., Nygård, L., Brorsson, A., Kottorp, A., Charlesworth, G., Wallcook, S., Malinowsky, C. (2020). Social Participation in Relation to Technology Use and Social Deprivation: A Mixed Methods Study Among Older People with and without Dementia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17, 4022. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/11/4022#