Background and objectives: e-Health solutions are an innovative approach to support aging with cognitive impairment. Because technology is developing at a fast pace, the aim of this review was to present an overview of the research regarding the effectiveness of these solutions. Moreover, the availability of these solutions was examined.
Research design and methods: Systematic searches were conducted in 7 databases. Full texts of potentially relevant references were assessed by 2 reviewers, and discrepancies were solved through discussion. Data on study characteristics, technology type, application domain, availability, outcomes, and effects were extracted. A categorization exercise and narrative synthesis were conducted.
Results: In total, 72 studies describing 70 e-Health solutions were identified. The majority of solutions comprised cognitive training for older adults, followed by educational and supportive web platforms for caregivers. Outcomes included mainly measures of cognition, psychosocial functioning, caregiving processes, caregiver-care receiver relationship, and activities of daily living. Positive effects of cognitive training technologies were observed on cognitive functioning of older adults, as well as those of supportive web platforms on behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and caregiver self-efficacy. The effects of these solutions on depression in both target groups were inconclusive. The methodological quality of the studies was moderate to good. However, some important limitations were observed.
Discussion and implications: The review identified cognitive training solutions and supportive web platforms as the most effective on a limited number of outcomes. Although other solutions seem promising, further research has to overcome methodological issues. Furthermore, solutions for leisure and reminiscence and outcomes specifically related to independent living deserve more attention.
Keywords: Dementia; Digital; MCI; Outcomes; Technology.
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America.