Technology and Dementia
In 2019, The Life Changes Trust and the William Grant Foundation produced a research report exploring how people with dementia and their carers engage with assistive technology. The report is called 'Dementia and Technology - A Literature Review and Qualitative Study'.
The report looked at what technology was available to people living with dementia, whether they could easily access or use this technology, what technology they were actually already using and how we can improve design and accessibility. The report also asks, is technology one of the key ways forward for supporting people living with dementia and unpaid carers?
Assistive technology has been proposed as a means of minimising the demands placed on carers and the economy while improving the lives of those affected by dementia.
For carers, assistive technology has the potential to support them with the stress of their caring role. This is particularly important because carers of people with dementia experience more instances of clinical depression and chronic stress than the general population. For individuals with dementia, assistive technology may be able to extend time spent at home, promote independence and increase quality of life. Therefore, assistive technology could be a potential tool for dealing with the needs of both people with dementia and their informal carers.
Five major themes evolved from the report: (1) views and feelings about assistive technology, (2) factors important for engagement, (3) barriers to engagement, (4) solutions to make using assistive technology easier and (5) focus for new developments.
EVIDENCE AND LEARNING
In October 2020, the Life Changes Trust hosted an online learning event called ‘Dementia: A Whole Life Approach – Technology and Dementia’. This event was planned for March 2020, to take place in Glasgow, but had to be postponed due to COVID19.
This webinar looked at existing and emerging technology, and how this can assist people living with dementia and family carers to live more independently and with more choice. Technology can be small and simple or it can be more ‘whole life’ – for example, using Alexa to help carry out every-day tasks.
We also launched 'Dementia and Technology - A Literature Review and Qualitative Study'.