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.
Health care technologies

Consult with end users when deciding on a mode of delivery for a digital intervention


Researchers and developers of digital psychosocial interventions for people with dementia and family carers should consult end users on the mode of delivery of their interventions to ensure its usability.

Explanation and Examples

Consensus exists that consultations with people with dementia and family carers should be carried out when developing digital complex interventions for these populations. However, with different platforms that are available to researchers and developers, it is especially important to ensure that the mode of delivery of these technologies (e.g., smartphone application, website, text messages etc.) is appropriate and useful for people who are going to use the intervention. Qualitative consultations in the form of interviews and focus groups with end users can be especially useful for this. We conducted focus groups with 17 people with dementia and family carers to establish their needs and wishes regarding the digital adaptation of an existing face-to-face intervention. Contrary to our expectations, we discovered that participants preferred a website intervention if they were going to use the intervention for a limited amount of time, for example less than four weeks. Smartphone applications were preferred if they were going to be used for a longer period. Consultations with end users are recommended to establish not just the intervention content but also its mode of delivery.

Type of evidence

Gianna Kohl (DISTINCT ESR10)

Focus group study with 17 people with dementia and family carers


Kohl, G., Cardoso, S., Heins, P., Scior, K., & Charlesworth, G. (2023). Guidance for moving psychosocial interventions online: A worked example of adapting ‘Who to tell, how and when’ for people living with dementia. Imminent manuscript submission to JMIR.