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Evidence Summary

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Information communication technologies may promote social behaviours in older adults with dementia

Pinto-Bruno AC, Garcia-Casal JA, Csipke E, et al.  ICT-based applications to improve social health and social participation in older adults with dementia. A systematic literature review  Aging and Mental Health. 2016;21(1).

Review question

  • Do information communication technologies improve aging and social health amongst individuals diagnosed with dementia who are aged 55 years or older?

Background

  • Dementia patients suffer cognitive impairment and are at risk for social isolation which then puts them at risk for poor social health, which can greatly reduce their quality of life. 
  • Currently, there are many information communication technologies which are used to improve aging, social participation and personal autonomy, thereby improving quality of life.
  • Although information communication technologies are a promising means of tackling poor social health and unhealthy aging, there is a need to assess their effects on promoting active aging and social health in people with dementia.

How the review was done

  • A detailed search of three electronic databases for studies published up to 2016 was conducted. Studies that focused on analyzing effects of information communication technology-based interventions amongst individuals 55 or older who are diagnosed with dementia were included in the review.
  • A total of 3,824 studies were identified in searches and six were included in the review after assessment for eligibility.
  • The authors did not acknowledge any funding source for this review.

What the researchers found

  • The researchers found that there are a wide variety of technological interventions for people with dementia that may help to improve social well-being.
  • The review found that individuals using information communication technology interventions had higher levels of conversation initiation than those who used non-technological interventions.
  • Interventions that were technologically supported were no different than non-technological interventions in terms of promoting social behavior.

Conclusion

  • Overall, there this review found some evidence to suggest that information communication technology interventions may promote more social behaviours than non-information communication technology interventions. More evidence is needed to determine whether similar social health benefits occur in the long term.



Glossary

Cognitive impairment
Trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect everyday life.

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