Implementing Assistive Technology in Dementia Care Services: A Guide for Practitioners
Research team
Compiled and edited by Philomena Stapleton and Sarah Delaney, with contributions from Richard Wynne and Kevin Cullen, Work Research Centre

Implementing Assistive Technology in Dementia Care Services: A Guide for Practitioners

Assistive technology (AT) is something many people have heard of, but something few of us know about in any detail. In spite of the proliferation of technology in our everyday lives, there is a lack of knowledge as to how assistive technologies may support better quality of life for people with dementia and enable them to remain living in their own homes. The National Dementia Strategy recognises the potential of AT to be part of
a range of services which provide flexible support to people with dementia and their carers.

While AT has promising potential and many useful tools to offer, experience from sites in Ireland who are working with AT and findings from other studies indicate that the task of implementing AT is poorly understood and not very well developed in Ireland. While there is a general level of knowledge about AT, there were significant gaps in terms of understanding the main functions of the different types of technology and how technology is implemented on the ground.

This guidance document has been produced in order to address these gaps. The guide is structured around descriptions of products and services that support memory, safety, entertainment/reminiscence and communication. The information has been compiled into a clear and easily navigated guide with lots of practical tools for implementation and resources to access for further information. While the guidance is primarily aimed at front-line professionals working with people with dementia and their carers, the guidance contains a wealth of information in an easily accessible format so that it may also be of use to some people with dementia, family carers and others who are involved in supporting people with dementia.

Key Points
  • Assistive technology can help promote independence for the person with dementia and their carers by helping to manage potential risks and aiding memory and recall.
  • Choices around assistive technology in dementia care should focus on assessing and meeting the needs of the person at a specific time.
  • Assistive technology may reduce the stress on carers, improve their quality of life and that of the person with dementia.
  • Assistive technology is not a substitute for human care and contact and cannot eliminate risk or prevent adverse incidents from occurring. 
  • Ethical issues such as peoples' right to autonomy, information, choice and privacy need to be considered.

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