Assistive technologies have the potential to facilitate everyday life of people with dementia and their families. Close collaboration with affected people and interdisciplinary research are essential to understand and address the needs of prospective users. In this study, we present the results of the evaluation of such an assistive system prototype. Aims: Challenges from the patient and caregiver side, technical and design problems and acceptance and usability with regard to our special target group were evaluated. Methods: MEMENTO, a system of two e-ink tablets and a smartwatch, was tested in the domestic environment of dementia patients. Thirty participants from Italy, Spain and Austria took part in a 3-month field trial and compared the MEMENTO system to traditional strategies in everyday life. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected and frequency of use of the system was monitored. Results: There were no significant changes in quantitative measurements, such as activities of daily living and caregiver burden over the duration of the 3-month field trial. More frequent usage was significantly correlated with positive attitude towards technology (r = 0.723, p < 0.05), but not with age. The design of the system was positively emphasized, reducing fear of the technology on the one hand and stigmatization on the other. Conclusion: We show that a positive attitude towards technology is the essential variable for successful implementation of such systems, regardless of age. Participants showed great interest in digital solutions and agreed that technological systems will help in maintaining independency of persons with cognitive dysfunction in the future.
- Assistive technologies; Cognitive impairment; Dementia; Digital device; Independent living; Usability testing