People with dementia and carers online discussing surveillance

Yvette Vermeer, Joeke van Santen, Georgina Charlesworth, Paul Higgs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper aims to interrogate online comments from consumers with dementia and family carers on surveillance technology products used by or for people with dementia.

A naturalistic, observational study of qualitative posts (N = 120) by people with dementia (n = 7) and family carers (n = 38) to discussion threads on surveillance technology (ST), hosted by an online dementia support forum in the Netherlands. Kozinet’s (2002) typology was used to describe respondent characteristics, and comments on features of ST products were analysed within a pre-existing framework.

Forum users were mainly “tourists” interested in ST, with some “insiders” interested in sharing experiences of ST use. They expressed a lack of trust in information from marketers and providers to the experience of being provided with poor information. Consumer-to-consumer comments on products triangulated with previous face-to-face qualitative studies. Carers prioritised “peace of mind” through location monitoring. In contrast, people with dementia prioritised user-friendliness (simple, with capability and compatible with daily routines).

Practical implications
Using online discussions of ST products provides a rapid approach to understanding current consumer needs and preferences in the ever-changing world of technology.

No previous study is known to have explored the views of carers and people with dementia in online discussions about ST.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-70
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Enabling Technologies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2020

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