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.
Social Health Domain 3: Technology to promote social participation

Robotic platform features and applications need to be tailored to the needs and preferences of end-users before implementing them in community-based dementia care Photo 1 Mini robot3.1.6.7. Photo 2 - man using an Ipad with a Mini robot


To successfully integrate social robotic platforms in community-based dementia care, such as Meeting Centres for people with dementia and carers and daycare centres, their features and applications need to be tailored to the needs and preferences of the end-users, the dynamics of group interactions, and the Meeting Centres’ activity policies and settings.

Explanation and Examples:

Research through focus groups and interviews with stakeholders on potential facilitators and barriers in the implementation of the social robot MINI indicated that for a successful implementation of social robots in Meeting Centres and daycare centres for people with dementia, it is expected to be crucial for social robot designers and developers to consider the following recommendations to guide the design of the robotic platform:

  • Evaluate the needs and preferences of the participants of Meeting Centre. Qualitative research with end-users and care professionals is essential before and during the robot development phase. This will ensure the acceptance and usefulness of the robot in such contexts.
  • Given the preference for group activities in Meeting Centres over individual activities, it is crucial to integrate the robot into a group setting so that it can interact with multiple users. For example, a multi-player game could allow two or more individuals to interact with a social robot at the same time.
  • Avoid designing games and quiz-like activities for use on social robots to avoid, in line with the activity policy of Meeting Centres, confronting persons with dementia with their shortcomings in activities that have high cognitive and memory function demands. Instead, fun, enjoyable, and relaxing applications and games would be most appealing and beneficial.

Type of evidence

Aysan Mahmoudi (DISTINCT ESR13)

Original article on conditions of successful implementation of the MINI robot in Meeting Centres for people with dementia and carers


Mahmoudi A, Franco Martin M, Van der Roest H, Castro-González A, Kouters S, Dröes RM. (2023). Potential facilitators and barriers to implementing the MINI robot in community-based meeting centres in the Netherlands and Spain. JMIR Preprints 8/11/2022:44125.