Best Practice Guidance
Human Interaction with Technology in Dementia

themes: Cognition

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.
Technology for meaningful activities

Everyday fluctuations


Consider using smartphone-based experience sampling apps to measure everyday fluctuations of variables such as mood, behaviors, or cognition in people with mild cognitive impairments or carers of people with dementia to better understand variations in daily experiences.

Explanation and examples

The ‘Partner in Sight’ intervention for carers of people with dementia, the ‘Monitor-Mi’ study (feasibility of the experience sampling method (ESM) in people with MCI), and the development of two cognitive tasks (mDSST; mVSWMT), all included the experience sampling method (ESM). These studies are first steps towards a better understanding of and support for people with cognitive impairments, such as MCI or dementia, and their carers in everyday life.

The results indicate positive effects on carers’ well-being, feasibility of using the ESM in people with MCI, and internal validity when assessing momentary cognition in healthy older individuals. The experience sampling method has a high ecological validity with a reduced memory bias, allows to see fluctuations, and uncovers a complex picture of affect, behaviour, and other variables in everyday life. It can be used to increase awareness of own daily patterns and motivate behavioural changes towards more meaningful activities.

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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.
Health care technologies

Consider the factors that potentially determine adherence to a computer-based cognitive rehabilitation program to generate corresponding adaptations


When evaluating adherence of people with dementia to a computer-based cognitive rehabilitation program, sociodemographic, cognitive, and psychological factors should be taken into account.

Explanation and example

When we consider evaluating the adherence of people with dementia to a computer-based program for cognitive rehabilitation, it is important to consider sociodemographic (age, sex, educational level), cognitive (memory, attention, executive function) and psychological factors (level of motivation, expectations, previous computer use).

For this purpose, a periodic evaluation will help to evaluate these factors and their relation to the amount and the time that a person spends in using a computer program for cognitive rehabilitation. In this way, significant modifications could be made to the program, so that the program meets the needs of people with dementia.

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