How do people living with dementia use technology?
conference contributionposted on 16.12.2016, 10:05 by Ruby Allen, Sharon CookSharon Cook, Sue HignettSue Hignett
Over 46.8 million people live with dementia worldwide, and this number is set to increase to 131.5 million by 2050; the need to support these people is of paramount importance (Alzheimer’s Disease International, 2015). While research continues to work towards effective treatments, there is need for research to improve the lives of people living with the symptoms (Alzheimer’s Society, 2014); ergonomics and design research has a key role in this challenge. As technology-rich environments are becoming increasingly commonplace, and society becomes increasingly automated, people with dementia (PWD) will be exposed to technological interfaces through necessity as technology becomes impossible to avoid (Wallace, Mulvenna, Martin, et al., 2010). Yet as technologies are developed in a ‘hyper-cognitive society’, where assumptions about cognitive ability are implicit (Brittain, Corner, Robinson, et al., 2010), there becomes an increasing risk of PWD being excluded from society as the demands of technologies are beyond their capabilities. It is therefore important to ensure that technologies are usable by PWD, by identifying and addressing the barriers to technology use. This could lead to a range of future accessible and usable technologies (e.g. everyday ICT, assistive technologies, or telemedicine) for PWD, to support increased independence.