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 for meaningful activities

Assessing the Ability to Use Everyday Technologies by self-perceived reports as well as observations

View reference


To understand the ability of the elderly with cognitive impairments to use everyday technology observe the interaction but also ask about their views.

Explanation and examples

Via an observation (guided by the META), the person-technology interaction can be described in detail, e.g. does the person press buttons/the screen with an adequate force or are steps performed in a logical order. This can help to determine which elements of a specific technology are causing problems and might be particularly useful for designing intervention and the development of technology. Through a self-perceived report (S-ETUQ), the individual can reflect on a wider range of technologies and the impact of technology use to perform well in (in relation to) everyday life can be depicted. For example, if someone has problems using the ticket machine for public transport or the ATM, this might impact participating in society; if the individual has problems with using the dishwasher or vacuum cleaner, this might impact the hygiene and well-being at home.

Type of evidence

Sara Bartels (INDUCT ESR9)

Correlation study of the META and S-ETUQ (KI and UM)


Bartels, S.L., Assander, S., Patomella, A.H.,  Jamnadas-Khoda, J. & Malinowsky, C. (2020): Do you observe what I perceive? The relationship between two perspectives on the ability of people with cognitive impairments to use everyday technology, Aging & Mental Health, 24:8, 1295-1305.

See also

Consider different needs