Digital Technologies to Prevent Social Isolation and Loneliness in Dementia: A Systematic Review

Harleen Kaur Rai, David Kernaghan, Linda Schoonmade, Kieren Egan*, Anne Margriet Pot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: Dementia poses significant and sustained challenges to global society. Diagnosis can lead to increased feelings of loneliness and social isolation. People with dementia living alone are particularly at risk. Considering the growing number of technologies proposed to aid people with dementia address social isolation and loneliness, we reviewed the existing literature.

OBJECTIVE: To collate and summarize current evidence for digital technologies to prevent social isolation and loneliness for people with dementia.

METHODS: Following the PRISMA guidelines, we systematically searched five databases to identify studies of digital technologies designed to support or prevent social isolation or loneliness for people with dementia. Pre-specified outcomes included social isolation, loneliness, and quality of life. We used deductive thematic analysis to synthesize the major themes emerging from the studies.

RESULTS: Ten studies met our inclusion criteria where all studies reported improvements in quality of life and seven reported benefits regarding social inclusion or a reduction in loneliness. Technologies were varied across purpose, delivery format, theoretical models, and levels of personalization. Two studies clearly described the involvement of people with dementia in the study design and five technologies were available outside the research context.

CONCLUSION: There is limited- but increasing- evidence that technologies hold potential to improve quality of life and reduce isolation/loneliness for people with dementia. Results presented are largely based in small-scale research studies. Involvement of people with dementia was limited and few research concepts are reaching implementation. Closer collaboration with people with dementia to provide affordable, inclusive, and person-centered solutions is urgently required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-528
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD
Issue number2
Early online date16 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2022

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© 2022 - The authors.


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