Best Practice Guidance
Human Interaction with Technology in Dementia

themes: Facilitators

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.
Social Health Domain 1: Fulfill ones potential and obligations

Facilitators of online peer support groups using video meetings should provide clear guidance and support to allow people to use the platform


People with Young Onset Dementia can experience difficulties using technology or particular platforms for online peer support. Facilitators of video meetings and moderators of text-based platforms (such as Facebook groups or discussion forums) should provide clear guidance on how to use the platform and be available to offer technological assistance where needed.

Explanation and Examples

Our study, including 20 people with Young Onset Dementia across 4 focus groups, showed that most of them experienced difficulties with the online meetings at some point. This included having difficulties getting into the Zoom meeting and installing or updating the software on their devices. Some more specific recommendations included:

  • The facilitator of video meetings should send out timely reminders, preferably also on the day of the meeting, including the link to the meeting. This reduces the risk that someone cannot find the link.
  • The facilitator should provide a clear step-by-step guide on how to install and use the necessary software.
  • The facilitator should open the meeting 10-15 minutes beforehand to allow people to get in and if needed provide remote support (e.g. via email, WhatsApp, or a phone call).
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Facilitators and moderators of online peer support should have good listening and communication skills and a supportive attitude


It is important that the online peer support group is a safe and non-judgemental environment for everyone in the group. Most of all it is a platform for members to express themselves and support one another. It is the role of the facilitator to make everyone feel included, heard, and safe.

Explanation and Examples

Through 4 focus groups including a total of 20 people with Young Onset Dementia, and 9 individual interviews with people with Young Onset Dementia, people highlighted the importance of the role of the facilitator. Additionally, through speaking with online group facilitators, they shared what they think is important and what helps them to run a meeting well. Facilitators should:

  • Have good listening skills and not take over the conversation too much, but let the group decide what to discuss and what is important.

  • Make every member of the group feel included and give everyone a chance to speak. If people raise their hand, make sure to address everyone in order.

  • Make sure not one person dominates the conversation.

  • Call out bullying or abusive behaviour or language.

  • Check in with someone after the meeting if they appeared distressed or upset, or if they left suddenly without explaining why.

  • Really get to know the members, for example by meeting with them one-on-one before they join the group. In this way facilitators can learn what someone is expecting from the group, and what their needs are.

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Social Health Domain 2: Manage ones own life and promote independence
Social Health Domain 3: Technology to promote social participation