New Research Shows Positive Impact of Technology on Dementia Patients


Individuals living with dementia can benefit from technology, especially when aided by family members, according to a?University of Washington?case study published in the?Journal of Gerontological Nursing?in April.

The case study, titled “Involving Family Members in the Implementation and Evaluation of Technologies for Dementia,” followed the progress of an 80-year-old dementia patient at a memory care unit as she used recreational technology from?It’s Never 2 Late?(iN2L) with assistance from her 56-year-old daughter. The iN2L technology used included a touch screen computer, numerous applications to facilitate physical activity and cognitive memory, and additional components such as a joystick, camera, and hand bike.

The study reported a number of key observations:

>>The daughter’s close involvement and input was effective in designing and deploying technology tailored to her mother’s personal interests.

>>The mother experienced particular satisfaction using technology with a family member.

>>Using technology together may be a way to foster more interaction between relatives and dementia patients.

Most notably, the mother’s score on the Mini-Mental State Examination increased from 16 (indicating moderate dementia) to 21, a distinct improvement.

“Empirical research continues to demonstrate what we’ve recognized for years and is the singular purpose driving iN2L?technology that is thoughtfully designed to the needs of people living with dementia considerably improves their quality of life,” said?Juliet Kerlin, research director of iN2L. “In fact, it?provides caregivers with opportunities to support and maximize the residents’ unique strengths. As we can see from this study, such technology also revives engagement and strengthens connections with family members.”

The study?s findings come closely on the heels of a?research study?released by the LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST), “Reducing the Use of Psychotropic Drugs and Improving Quality of Life Through Entertaining Technology-Driven Activities,”?which concluded that personalized technology effectively lowers prescription drug use for older adults living with dementia.

“It’s rewarding to have objective research back up what we have seen for 16 years, that person-centered technology can positively impact the lives of people dealing with dementia,” commented?Jack York, CEO of iN2L. “Having a positive impact on families is a huge part of our success.?Everyone, including family members, tend to make assumptions regarding the limitations of someone with the disease.?These assumptions are shattered when user-friendly technology intersects with individualized content.”

Several research studies are planned or underway at the?University of Maryland (Baltimore County), University of?Indiana,?and?Xavier University?to quantify the benefits of the iN2L system when used for structured recreational and leisure activities in nursing home settings, as well as to reduce the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) in memory care settings.


Source: iN2L,

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