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

Consider using low-cost pet robots to support the psychosocial health of people living with dementia and their caregivers


Low-cost pet robots demonstrate the potential to positively impact the psychosocial health of people with dementia and their caregivers. Due to their lower cost, they may be more accessible and affordable and should therefore be considered for use in dementia care.

Explanation and examples

Although pet robots have demonstrated positive impacts on the wellbeing of people with dementia, their affordability can impede their uptake in dementia care. A scoping review, content analysis of consumer reviews and a qualitative study showed that the impacts of low-cost pet robots on people with dementia resembled the effects of other higher costed (but more advanced) pet robots. These included improved mood, companionship, increased activity engagement and reduced anxiety. Caregivers also experienced knock-on effects, such as feelings of joy and relief. Low-cost pet robots are more widely accessible to the public since they can be purchased off-the-shelf. While promising, findings of their positive impacts are subject to bias. More rigorous studies are necessary to confirm their impacts.

Type of evidence

Collaborator: Pascale Heins (DISTINCT ESR11), Viktoria Hoel (DISTINCT ESR9)

Scoping review, qualitative content analysis, qualitative study (interviews with care providers)


Koh, W. Q., Ang, F. X. H., & Casey, D. (2021). Impacts of low-cost robotic pets for older adults and people with dementia: scoping Review. JMIR rehabilitation and assistive technologies, 8(1), e25340, 1-14.

Koh, W. Q., Whelan, S. A., Heins, P., Casey, D., Toomey, E., & Dröes, R.M. (2021). Usability and impact of a low-cost robotic pet for older adults and people with dementia: a qualitative content analysis of user experiences and perceptions on consumer websites. JMIR Aging, 5(1), e29224, 1-16.

Koh, W.Q., Toomey, E., Flynn, A. & Casey, D. (2022). Determinants of implementing of pet robots in nursing homes for dementia care. BMC Geriatrics, 22(1), 457, 1-12.

Useful links