Researchers and technology developers should be aware of the mutual influence care recipients and caregivers have on each other, and the importance of maintaining and improving caregiving relationships. Therefore they should adopt a dyadic approach to the development, A set of planned, intentional activities that aim to put into practice evidence-informed policies and practices in real-world services (see www.implementation.eu) and evaluation of technology-driven interventions by involving both members of the dyad.
Explanation and examples
A mixed-methods feasibility study investigated the impact of a tablet-based activation system on nine community-dwelling caregiving dyads living with dementia, their motivations to use social technology together, and facilitating and impeding factors in the independent use of social technology at home. In light of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, it was clear that the extent to which the caregiving dyads were influenced by the extreme social isolation depended on how socially active they were before the pandemic, and their familiarity with social technology. The dyads’ motivations for welcoming technology in their social interactions ranged from trying something new together, keeping up with society to communication support.
Identified facilitators and barriers revealed that user capabilities (care recipients’ cognitive capacities and caregivers’ energy to support their loved ones); user willingness (technology interest) and sufficient support (proactive, continuous and in-person) are three crucial elements in using social technology independently at home.
These contextual factors should be approached from a dyadic perspective taking into account the needs and preferences of both members of the dyad. Technology promoting social participation cannot be developed for people living with dementia without taking into account the needs of their caregivers, and vice versa.
ThemesCaregiving dyads Meaningful activities Relationship maintenance Social participation Software Tablet intervention
Target groupsResearchers Researchers developing digital applications Technology developers
Type of evidence
Results from a mixed-methods feasibility study
Hoel, V., E.A. Ambugo, and K. Wolf-Ostermann, Sustaining Our Relationship: Dyadic Interactions Supported by Technology for People with Dementia and Their Informal Caregivers. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2022. 19(17): p. 10956.
Hoel, V., K. Wolf-Ostermann, and E.A. Ambugo, Social Isolation and the Use of Technology in Caregiving Dyads Living With Dementia During COVID-19 Restrictions. Frontiers in Public Health, 2022. 10.