Best Practice Guidance
Human Interaction with Technology in Dementia


Evaluating the effectiveness of specific contemporary technology

The rapid growth of the technological landscape and related new services have the potential to improve the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of health and social services and facilitate social participation and engagement in activities. But which technology is effective and how is this evaluated best? This section provides recommendations to evaluate the effectiveness of technology in daily life, meaningful activities and healthcare services as well as of technologies aimed to promote the Social Health of people with dementia. Examples of useful technologies in some of these areas are provided.
Social Health Domain 3: Technology to promote social participation

Standardised instruments for measuring social interactions and communication in dementia caregiving must be developed to ensure rigorous research into the effect of technology solutions that aim to support this


The academic community should dedicate more resources to develop and evaluate technology-driven solutions that support dyadic communication and foster social interactions in dementia caregiving dyads. Rigorous investigation is needed using standard, comparable measurements to demonstrate the effects of these technological solutions.

Explanation and examples

A systematic literature search was conducted to comprehensively describe technology-driven interventions to prompt communication and facilitate positive social interactions between people with dementia and their conversation partners. Titles and abstracts from three databases PubMed, CINAHL and PsycINFO, were independently screened by two researchers. Quality of the included studies was assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Of the 18 papers included in the review, the technology most commonly used to facilitate social interaction were tablet-computers (n=7), social robots (n=5), and personal computers (n=4). Technology-driven devices not fitting into the three other categories were labelled as ‘other’ (n = 2). Results showed that the social technology helped: i) breaking the ice by initiating dialogue and serving as a conversational platform; ii) increase interaction frequency and duration by encouraging more involvement between the conversation partners; iii) better understand the person with dementia through reminiscence activities; and iv) reduce pressure on the conversation partner by making the communication more reciprocal. Although there is seemingly great potential in technology to facilitate social interaction and communication in dementia caregiving, the findings show that research in this area is still in an explorative phase. The diversity in study methodologies and few standardised instruments used to measure these outcomes point to a need for further research into development and validation of new assessment tools for positive outcomes in social health.

Type of evidence

Viktoria Hoel (DISTINCT ESR 9)

Systematic literature review.


Hoel V, Feunou CM, Wolf-Ostermann K. Technology-driven solutions to prompt conversation, aid communication and support interaction for people with dementia and their caregivers: a systematic literature review. BMC Geriatr. (2021) 21:1 157.