Best Practice Guidance
Human Interaction with Technology in Dementia


Implementation of technology in dementia care: facilitators & barriers

Successful implementation of technology in dementia care depends not merely on its effectiveness but also on other facilitating or impeding factors related to e.g. the personal living environment (privacy, autonomy and obtrusiveness); the outside world (stigma and human contact); design (personalisability, affordability and safety), and ethics on these subjects.  This section provides recommendations on the implementation of technology in everyday life, for meaningful activities, healthcare technology and technology promoting Social Health.

Social Health Domain 2: Manage ones own life and promote independence

Researchers and technology developers developing, implementing and evaluating technological solutions promoting social health for community-dwelling dementia caregiving dyads should take on a relationship-centred approach


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, implementation 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.

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Recommended design and implementation framework for social assistive robotics for people with dementia


While designing social assistive robots the following recommended features should be considered to promote successful implementation: low-cost affordable design (pet robot is preferred to humanoid), language mutation for target user and integration with Smart Home IoT (including IoT security mechanisms). During the development phase co-creation should be promoted.

Explanation and Examples:

These recommendations are based on the main findings of a scoping review. The scoping review investigated the state-of-the-art in social assistive robotics, i.e. the current technological advances towards a single framework for effective, safe and secure implementation of social robots for people with dementia. The scoping review qualitatively examined the literature on the use of companion robots, including both pet-like and humanoid robots, and Internet-of-Things (IoT) security, coupled with the new 5G technology for home-based elder care. A comprehensive search strategy was developed and selected databases were looked through with relevant keywords. From the 355 full-text articles found, 90 articles were selected to be examined. In order to ascertain the operation of social assistive robots in the future, remaining challenges, unused opportunities, security risks and suggested remedies are discussed, and a dementia-centred concept and implementation framework proposed.

The following set of recommendations were formulated based on the main findings:

  • Consider using a pet robot instead of a humanoid assistive robot as the high cost of the latter for a similar impact and user acceptance cannot be justified.
  • Consider low-cost, affordable design and various language mutations for wider deployment in practice, thus allowing more comparative studies, which could provide convincing arguments for using the robot.
  • Integrate robot with Smart Home IoT to enhance its functionality towards managing ones own life and promote independence.
  • Consider data security, and especially IoT security, prevention mechanisms while integrating the social robot with IoT smart home sensorics.
  • Promote wider user involvement and higher level of participation (co-creation) in the development phase of the robot.
  • Introduce clearly, and particularly identify, the concerns and needs of people with dementia in the design process.
  • List the potential risks and misuses of IoT vulnerabilities, including their remedies, in the design process.
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Signpost people with dementia to social media as accessible, virtual platforms to share experiences and information


Social media have the potential to be an additional supportive medium for people with dementia. It is recommended to signpost individuals with dementia to social media platforms to leverage their potential.

Explanation and Examples:

We conducted an online survey with 143 people with dementia to explore how they used social media platforms and what kind of information they shared on their accounts. Our findings show that people with dementia use various different social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter to raise awareness, give and receive support, and to share their experiences of living with dementia. As subsequent older generations will use technology more and, consequently, will become more tech-savvy, social media platforms will become more relevant for this population. As post-diagnostic support is often lacking, social media platforms can be used as medium that is widely available and easily accessible to offer people with dementia additional (peer) support. Examples of these platforms include online forums like Talking Point by the Alzheimer’s Society UK, Facebook groups run by charities or dementia organisations, or Twitter where many people with dementia are active. Signposting people with dementia to these social media platforms is therefore recommended.

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