Meaningful use of computers has a potential therapeutic and preventative role in dementia care: A systematic review

Australas J Ageing. 2017 Dec;36(4):299-307. doi: 10.1111/ajag.12446. Epub 2017 Jun 15.


Objective: Personal computers provide an increasingly accessible resource for leisure, social engagement and activities of daily living. This systematic review aimed to explore preventative or therapeutic benefits of such technology in people at risk of, or living with, dementia.

Methods: A systematic search of health databases combined key concepts of dementia and computer use. Inclusion criteria were applied, studies appraised for quality and results synthesised descriptively.

Results: Nine studies met inclusion criteria: Four population-based studies and five small observational/intervention studies. Findings show an association between computer use in older age and decreased risk of dementia and provide preliminary evidence that computer-based activity interventions are feasible and enjoyable for people with dementia.

Conclusion: Early findings are promising, but more rigorous studies are required to examine the nature of the relationship between computer use and dementia risk, and the potential of computer activities to improve outcomes for people experiencing cognitive decline.

Keywords: activities of daily living; cognitive impairments; computers; dementia; internet; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology
  • Attitude to Computers*
  • Cognition*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / prevention & control*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / psychology
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Dementia / prevention & control*
  • Dementia / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protective Factors
  • Quality of Life*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Behavior
  • Video Games