Design Considerations for Volunteer Support in Dementia Care

2016.10 | ITAP 2016

Volunteers at nursing homes are particularly challenged when interacting with residents who have dementia. Unlike primary caregivers, they often lack sufficient familiarity with the unique needs of the individual with dementia and demonstrate low proficiency in responding to their needs. Many studies have addressed needs of dementia caregivers, but they have almost exclusively focused on primary caregivers who have the advantage of previous experience. In this study, we observed and interviewed 12 first-time volunteers to understand the experience and information needs of non-familial, inexpert caregivers. Thematic analysis identified three main themes: volunteers want support in attaining a mutuality of identity, a sense of achievement and an understanding of the unique needs of each resident. We conclude with implications of these findings for the design of systems to support volunteers as non-primary caregivers.


devices, non-primary, volunteering, primary, Dementia, caregivers, volunteers, burden of care


Proceedings of the International Symposium on Interactive Technology and Ageing Populations

Project Info



Pin Sym Foong and Shengdong Zhao