Integration of Technology with Cognitive Rehabilitation for an Individual with Dementia and Their Care Partner

Karl Grewal, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
Eric Grewal, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada
Allison Cammer, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
Lachlan McWilliams, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
Raymond Spiteri, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
Megan O'Connell, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada


Non-pharmacological interventions are needed to support the function of older adults living with dementia, as well as their care partners. Technology has emerged as one avenue for support that can be combined with psychological interventions. This study described the process of integrating off-the-shelf technologies with cognitive rehabilitation (CR) for a person with dementia and their care partner.

Participants and Methods:

Participants were a 73-year-old male living with dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease, and his 75-year-old wife, who was his primary care partner. Each participant received their own individualized CR. However, each party participated in the other’s rehabilitation. A bi-phasic design was employed using a three-session baseline phase. CR was delivered integrated with technology selected specifically for each case to match targeted goals and leverage existing knowledge. Neuropsychological assessment was completed with the person with dementia for the purposes of case formulation. Pre- and post-intervention assessments were completed for both cases. The person with dementia received pre- and post- intervention cognitive assessment via a remote neuropsychological battery (i.e., Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test; Mental Alternations Test; Animal Fluency), and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). The care partner completed the HADS, the Zarit Burden Interview, and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire pre- and post-intervention. Change was assessed using reliable change indices where possible. Goal progress was tracked using the Canadian Occupation Performance Measure (COPM) during every session; these data were plotted and analyzed through visual inspection. A research journal was maintained to document sessions, reflections on the experience of delivering the intervention, and information relevant to feasibility (e.g., adaptations); this documentation was thematically analyzed.


Results cautiously suggest the integration of CR and technology was both feasible and acceptable, with a variety of technologies and features being employed for several goals. In both cases, there was significant change in goal progress as indexed by the COPM suggesting the integration of technology with CR was successful in facilitating goal performance and satisfaction. Thematic analysis of the research journal yielded insights into successful integration of technology with CR: the importance of a visual component, intervention flexibility, and building a strong therapeutic alliance. The research journal also suggested that integrating CR and technology was practical, helping create environments that served to increase daily quality of life.


The integration off-the-shelf technologies with CR appears to be a promising avenue to support people living with dementia and their care partners. Results cautiously suggest this integration was successful, with a variety of technologies and features being employed to facilitate goal progress in several areas of functioning. Goal performance and satisfaction improved significantly across both cases, suggesting technology can be added to CR while maintaining its core principles. Future investigations should further explore the integration of technology and cognitive rehabilitation with a range of both presenting problems and goals for rehabilitation.

Category: Cognitive Intervention/Rehabilitation

Keyword 1: cognitive rehabilitation
Keyword 2: technology
Keyword 3: quality of life