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The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in the Unites States is estimated to be 5.2 million (Alzheimer’s Association, 2013). Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) can impact an individual’s ability to independently participate in daily occupations within their environment due to executive dysfunction, memory loss, poor judgment, and decreased problem solving (Desai, Grossberg, & Sheth, 2004; Alzheimer’s Association, 2013). Due to the rising prevalence of dementia, Labelle and Mihailidis (2006) note the importance of occupational therapists finding innovative and evidence-based strategies to enable participation in daily occupations. The purpose of this presentation is to present the results of a literature review that examined the current evidence supporting the use of assistive technology (AT) to promote engagement in meaningful occupations for individuals with ADRD.

The literature review examined 12 articles using four databases: CINAHL, Cochrane, OvidSP, and PubMed. Peer-reviewed journals published from 2000 to present, individuals with AD/RD, and the use of AT were included while articles discussing other populations were excluded. Two authors reviewed and completed Appendix M (Law & McDermid, 2008a) and Appendix N (Law & McDermid, 2008b) or the Qualitative Review Form (Law & McDermid, 2008c) to critically appraise the articles.

Statistics state 60-70% of individuals with ADRD live within the community (Alzheimer’s Association, 2013), however there is limited research specifically supporting the implementation of AT devices within the home for individuals with ADRD. Results of this literature review indicate testing specific prototypes of AT that support individuals with ADRD is in the preliminary stages. These prototypes have shown the potential of promoting participation within the individual’s living space. Of importance, prototypes are continually being modified to maximize engagement in meaningful occupations within their environment. In addition to findings related to testing AT, the literature shows that the use of AT decreases caregiver assistance and interactions during daily occupations. The use of AT by individuals with ADRD and their caregivers is influenced by the simplicity and familiarity of the design of AT as well as their satisfaction with the device. Occupational therapists are equipped with the knowledge and skills to serve as consultants during the development of AT, in addition to incorporating these technologies while using a client-centered approach with individuals with ADRD.


Alzheimer's Association. (2013). Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures, Alzheimer's & Dementia, 7(2).

Desai, A. K., Grossberg, G. T., & Sheth, D. N. (2004). Activities of Daily Living in patients with Dementia. CNS drugs, 18(13), 853-875.

Labelle, K. L., & Mihailidis, A. (2006). The use of automated prompting to facilitate handwashing in persons with dementia. The American journal of occupational therapy, 60(4), 442-450.

Law, M & MacDermid, J (2008a). Appendix M in Evidence-Based Rehabilitation: A Guide to Practice. Slack, Inc.

Law, M & MacDermid, J (2008b). Appendix N in Evidence-Based Rehabilitation: A Guide to Practice. Slack, Inc.

Law, M & MacDermid, J (2008c). Qualitative Review Form in Evidence-Based Rehabilitation: A Guide to Practice. Slack, Inc.