Background: People with dementia and their family caregivers may benefit from assistive technology (AT), but knowledge is scarce about family carers’ (FC) experiences and involvement in the use of AT in everyday life. Aim: To examine the FC roles and experiences with AT as means of supporting people with young onset-dementia (YOD). Method: Qualitative interview study with follow-up design. Repeated semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 FC of people with YOD, participating in an ongoing intervention study investigating the families’ use and experiences of AT in everyday life. Results: Six main themes emerged: (1) timely information about AT; (2) waiting times; (3) AT incorporated into everyday living; (4) AT experienced as a relief and burden; (5) appraisal of AT qualities and (6) the committed caregiver. Conclusions: The study found benefits for the FC, especially with simply designed AT, but also several barriers for successful use. A committed caregiver is vital throughout the process. Users will need professional advice and support, and occupational therapists may have a significant role in the process. Interventions implementing AT must be based on analysis of the needs of the person with YOD and the carers: their capabilities, preferences, embodied habits, and coping strategies.
Implications for Rehabilitation