Can technology impact loneliness in dementia? A scoping review on the role of assistive technologies in delivering psychosocial interventions in long-term care

K. bra Beliz Budak, Golnaz Atefi, Viktoria Hoel, Franziska Laporte Uribe, Franka Meiland, Sonja Teupen, Simone Anna Felding, Martina Roes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: We aimed to identify assistive technologies that are promising for addressing loneliness in people living with dementia in long-term care. Materials and methods: A scoping review was conducted. EBSCO, PubMed, Cochrane Library, and ProQuest were searched from 2000 to 2020. The included studies were selected by three independent researchers and summarised, compared, and categorized according to technology type. Publications were eligible for inclusion when they reported on psychosocial interventions aiming to reduce loneliness and/or social isolation in people with dementia in long-term care settings. Results: Twenty-four papers were included (20 original research papers and four reviews). Most studies were conducted in Australia and Europe. The studies aimed to investigate two different types of assistive technology: social robots, and multimedia computer systems. Most studies focussed on behaviour, engagement, and mood as primary outcomes. Only one study directly aimed to alleviate loneliness. Conclusions: Even though only one study addressed loneliness directly, it became clear that assistive technologies used to apply psychosocial interventions have the potential to impact loneliness in people with dementia in long-term care. However, it remains unclear why loneliness was not included as an outcome and how loneliness could become a key outcome in evaluating assistive technologies.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION Loneliness among older adults is associated with health risks, such as the development of dementia, depression, and increased mortality. Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) technologies have been studied to address loneliness for older adults; however people with dementia are often excluded from such studies. This diverse group of technologies is shown to have a promising impact on outcomes, such as social engagement, quality of life, and mood, but loneliness was studied less often. More research is needed to discover the potential of assistive technologies for people with dementia living in long-term care.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Early online date2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021


  • Loneliness
  • assistive technology
  • dementia
  • long-term care
  • social isolation

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