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Using digital technologies to facilitate social inclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic: Experiences of co-resident and non-co-resident family carers of people with dementia from DETERMIND-C19

Lookup NU author(s): Bryony Storey, Dr Ríona McArdle, Dr Paul Donaghy, Professor Dame Louise Robinson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic triggered rapid and unprecedented changes in the use of digital technologies to support people’s social inclusion. We examined whether and how co-resident and non-co-resident family carers of people with dementia engaged with digital technologies during this period.Methods: Throughout November 2020-February 2021, we interviewed 42 family carers of people with dementia from our DETERMIND-C19 cohort. Preliminary analysis was conducted through Framework analysis, followed by an inductive thematic analysis.Findings: Digital technologies served as a Facilitator for social inclusion by enabling carers to counter the effects of the differing restrictions imposed on them so they could remain socially connected and form a sense of solidarity, access resources and information, engage in social and cultural activities and provide support and independence in their caring role. However, these experiences were not universal as carers discussed some Challenges for tech inclusion, which included preferences for face-to-face contact, lack of technological literacy and issues associated with the accessibility of the technology.Conclusion: Many of thecarers engaged with Information and Communication Technologies, and to a lesser extent Assistive Technologies, during the pandemic. Whilst carers experienced different challenges due to where they lived, broadly the use of these devices helped them realise important facets of social inclusion as well as facilitated the support they provided to the person with dementia. However, to reduce the ‘digital divide’ and support the social inclusion of all dementia carers, our findings suggest it is essential that services are attuned to their preferences, needs and technological abilities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hicks B, Gridley K, Dixon J, Baxter K, Birks Y, Colclough C, Karim A, Perach R, Moseley E, Russell A, Sondh H, Storey B, Tipping E, Mc Ardle R, Donaghy P, Dangoor M, Miles E, Robinson L, Rusted J, Waine H, Wheatley K, Banerjee S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Year: 2023

Volume: 38

Issue: 2

Print publication date: 13/02/2023

Online publication date: 03/02/2023

Acceptance date: 24/01/2023

Date deposited: 01/03/2023

ISSN (print): 0885-6230

ISSN (electronic): 1099-1166

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


DOI: 10.1002/gps.5886


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