Senior man, aged 61, using a tablet computer at home

New technologies designed for older adults with dementia are helping them socialize and maintain daily routines, finds a recent meta-analysis. 

The review analyzed the existing body of literature around “digital assistive technology,” an umbrella term covering technologies used for education and rehabilitation, to overcome participation and activity restrictions, and to improve cognitive, sensory and motor abilities.

Demand for such digital assistive technology has grown in recent years as dementia cases have risen and the number of caregivers, both in SNF and home care settings, has failed to keep pace.

More than 45% of nursing home residents and 42% of assisted living residents have been diagnosed with dementia, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

The latest review identified key areas where technology helps patients with dementia:

•Preserving autonomy and dignity

•Improving daily activities

•Fostering social interaction

•Monitoring health

While most studies in the review found positive results among residents for these assistive technologies, a handful of purported residents had reacted negatively to the technology and experienced anxiety and aggression. 

“Future research, in the context of voice assistants and advancements in large language models, would be of importance,” the study authors concluded. “They facilitate the development of an interface that is more intuitive and natural, without demanding a high degree of dexterity.”

The full study was published in the journal BMJ.