Best Practice Guidance
Human Interaction with Technology in Dementia

themes: Elderly care/older adults care

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.
Health care technologies

Digital Health Technologies are recommended to support fully Comprehensive Geriatric Assessments, because they improve communication and data transfer of patient medical data, health decision-making, and sharing of assessment responsibility between different professionals, thereby reducing the psychological burden of individual healthcare professionals


To provide high-quality elderly and dementia care, Digital Health Technologies (DHTs) can potentially help achieve the full capacity of Comprehensive Geriatric Assessments (CGAs). In addition they can improve communication and data transfer on patients’ medical and treatment plan information between care settings and stakeholders as well as improve health decision-making. Finally, they can help to share the responsibility of the geriatric assessment between professionals, thereby avoiding overloading the workload of individual users and reducing their psychological stress.

Explanation and Examples:

Due to the higher rate of transitions between care settings in older populations, associated with the complexity of an ageing population and the shift from institutional care to home care, CGAs have become an important assessment tool as they encompass multiple domains and address the variety of complex problems in frail older people. They are considered as multidimensional assessments, using quantitative assessment scales, that support multidisciplinary care teams in clinical decision-making and personalized care planning to meet the needs of older people, their families and carers, focusing on functional status and quality of life.

However, to reach the full potential of CGAs, their implementation should be supported by electronic data systems, which provide relevant outputs and allow timely sharing of information within multidisciplinary teams of healthcare professionals and between different healthcare settings. The use of DHTs can potentially help them reach their full capacity and overcome the data transfer limitations between care settings and stakeholders. To improve the usability and implementation of these DHTs, the following features are recommended: a) accessibility of individual assessment by multiple healthcare professionals and the possibility of splitting sections according to professional expertise to share responsibility for assessments; b) the use of secure data storage, such as clouds; c) automatization of real-time calculation of scales and outcomes with a graphical representation of the person’s profile and health status; d) automatic alerts, notifications and continuous monitoring of item completion; and e) provision of personalized care plans according to the data collected.

Well-designed digital health technologies can contribute to the safety of the potential users (e.g. healthcare professionals and stakeholders) and reduce psychological stress, including burnout and low morale, by avoiding overloading the workload of healthcare professionals. For example, by sharing the responsibility for carrying out the assessments between different professionals.

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

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.
Read more >