Assistive technology and home modifications: outcomes for people living with dementia and their carers, service use patterns and costs

Catherine Henderson In progress  


‘Assistive Technology’ (AT) refers to bath seats, grab rails and other modifications to the home, as well as more ‘high-tech’ electronic equipment such as pendant alarms or falls alarms. AT is intended to help people to continue living independently. Social care workers, advocacy groups and consumer organisations routinely recommend AT for people living with dementia and their carers.

There is very little evidence about how AT benefits people living with dementia and what sorts of AT are most useful. There is not much known about how AT keeps people living independently with dementia, how it affects their feelings, or how it affects their family and friends. Some research suggests that AT benefits older people and people with disabilities. For example, adapting the home could protect older people who live alone from decline in their cognitive function. But most current research on how AT works over time is from the US and some is poor-quality.


The overarching objective of the study is to examine impacts of AT use on well-being and other psychological outcomes, and to identify how AT use relates to receipt and costs of paid and unpaid care.


This research study will use information from the IDEAL study to look at how AT works over the passage of time. The IDEAL study followed British people living with dementia and their carers over several years. It collected data on managing life with dementia, wellbeing, health status, and quality of life. The study also took information on use of unpaid care, health and social care services and AT (assistive equipment and adaptations).

Using the first two years of IDEAL study data, the research team aims to explore:

  • How the use of equipment and adaptations changed as time went by
  • Whether people in the IDEAL study have different kinds of packages of equipment and adaptations
  • Whether using equipment and adaptations have an impact on using other services like A&E or home care
  • Whether using equipment and adaptations has an impact on wellbeing and quality of life for people living with dementia, and for for carers of people living with dementia
  • What are the implications of these findings for people with dementia and for their carers, as consumers of equipment and adaptations.