Studies involving people with dementia and touchscreen technology: A literature review

Phil Joddrell*, Arlene J. Astell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Devices using touchscreen interfaces such as tablets and smartphones have been highlighted as potentially suitable for people with dementia due to their intuitive and simple control method. This population experience a lack of meaningful, engaging activities, yet the potential use of the touchscreen format to address this issue has not been fully realized. Objective: To identify and synthesize the existing body of literature involving the use of touchscreen technology and people with dementia in order to guide future research in this area. Methods: A systematized review of studies in the English language was conducted, where a touchscreen interface was used with human participants with dementia. Results: A total of 45 articles met the inclusion criteria. Four questions were addressed concerning (1) the context of use, (2) reasons behind the selection of the technology, (3) details of the hardware and software, and (4) whether independent use by people with dementia was evidenced. Conclusions: This review presents an emerging body of evidence demonstrating that people with dementia are able to independently use touchscreen technology. The intuitive control method and adaptability of modern devices has driven the selection of this technology in studies. However, its primary use to date has been as a method to deliver assessments and screening tests or to provide an assistive function or cognitive rehabilitation. Building on the finding that people with dementia are able to use touchscreen technology and which design features facilitate this, more use could be made to deliver independent activities for meaningful occupation, entertainment, and fun.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10
Number of pages10
JournalJMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

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