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 for meaningful activities

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Guidance

Consider using smartphone-based experience sampling apps to measure everyday fluctuations of variables such as mood, behaviors, or cognition in people with mild cognitive impairments or carers of people with dementia to better understand variations in daily experiences.

Explanation and examples

The ‘Partner in Sight’ intervention for carers of people with dementia, the ‘Monitor-Mi’ study (feasibility of the experience sampling method (ESM) in people with MCI), and the development of two cognitive tasks (mDSST; mVSWMT), all included the experience sampling method (ESM). These studies are first steps towards a better understanding of and support for people with cognitive impairments, such as MCI or dementia, and their carers in everyday life.

The results indicate positive effects on carers’ well-being, feasibility of using the ESM in people with MCI, and internal validity when assessing momentary cognition in healthy older individuals. The experience sampling method has a high ecological validity with a reduced memory bias, allows to see fluctuations, and uncovers a complex picture of affect, behaviour, and other variables in everyday life. It can be used to increase awareness of own daily patterns and motivate behavioural changes towards more meaningful activities.

Type of evidence

Sara Bartels (INDUCT ESR9)

ESM studies: ‘Partner in Sight’ intervention and related studies; Monitor-Mi study; Cognitive tasks (collaboration with S. Verhagen et al.);

References

Bartels S.L., van Knippenberg R.J.M., Malinowsky C., Verhey F.R.J., de Vugt M.E. Smartphone-Based Experience Sampling in People With Mild Cognitive Impairment: Feasibility and Usability Study. JMIR Aging 2020;3(2):e19852. https://doi.org/10.2196/19852

Van Knippenberg, R. J. M., De Vugt, M. E., Ponds, R. W., Myin‐Germeys, I., van Twillert, B., & Verhey, F. R. J. (2017). Dealing with daily challenges in dementia (deal‐id study): an experience sampling study to assess caregiver functioning in the flow of daily life. International journal of geriatric psychiatry, 32(9), 949-958.

Van Knippenberg, R. J. M., De Vugt, M. E., Ponds, R. W., Myin-Germeys, I., & Verhey, F. R. J. (2018). An experience sampling method intervention for dementia caregivers: results of a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 26(12), 1231-1243.

Daniëls, N. E. M., Bartels, S. L., Verhagen, S. J. W., Van Knippenberg, R. J. M., De Vugt, M. E., & Delespaul, P. A. (2020). Digital assessment of working memory and processing speed in everyday life: Feasibility, validation, and lessons-learned. Internet Interventions, 19, 100300.

Verhagen, S. J., Daniëls, N. E., Bartels, S. L., Tans, S., Borkelmans, K. W., de Vugt, M. E., & Delespaul, P. A. (2019). Measuring within-day cognitive performance using the experience sampling method: A pilot study in a healthy population. PLOS One, 14(12), e0226409.

See also

Personalized feedback and sustained support for carers using the experience sampling method

Useful links

Psymate website (English)

Psymate website (Dutch)