Use and uptake of technology by people with dementia and their supporters during the COVID-19 pandemic

Aging Ment Health. 2024 Jan-Feb;28(1):83-94. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2022.2163375. Epub 2023 Jan 17.


Objective: This rapid review aims to identify the types of technologies used by people with dementia and their supporters during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the issues which influenced technology adoption within their usual care routines.

Methods: PubMed, PsychInfo, Scopus, and Cochrane COVID reviews were searched to identify peer-review studies published since 2020. A total of 18 studies were included and synthesised thematically.

Results: Of these, most were conducted in the community (n = 15) with people with dementia only (n = 11) and involved qualitative methods (n = 11). The majority (n = 12) focused on digital off-the-shelf and low-cost solutions, such as free video conferencing platforms, to access care, socialise or take part in interventions. Whilst often well-accepted and associated with positive outcomes (such as improved social connectedness), lack of digital literacy or support to use technologies, limited access to appropriate technology, individuals' physical, cognitive, or sensory difficulties, were highlighted and likely to threaten the adoption of these solutions. The quality of the evidence was mixed, neither very robust nor easily generalisable which may be attributed to the challenges of conducting research during the pandemic or the need to rapidly adapt to a new reality.

Conclusion: While COVID-19 has fast-tracked the adoption of technology, its use is likely to continue beyond the pandemic. We need to ensure this technology can leverage dementia support and care and that people with dementia are enabled and empowered to use it.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; Dementia; assistive technology; technologies.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Dementia* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Technology