Artificial intelligence for caregivers of persons with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias: Systematic literature review

Bo Xie, Cui Tao, Juan Li, Robin C. Hilsabeck, Alyssa Aguirre

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: Artificial intelligence (AI) has great potential for improving the care of persons with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) and the quality of life of their family caregivers. To date, however, systematic review of the literature on the impact of AI on ADRD management has been lacking. Objective: This paper aims to (1) identify and examine literature on AI that provides information to facilitate ADRD management by caregivers of individuals diagnosed with ADRD and (2) identify gaps in the literature that suggest future directions for research. Methods: Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines for conducting systematic literature reviews, during August and September 2019, we performed 3 rounds of selection. First, we searched predetermined keywords in PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature Plus with Full Text, PsycINFO, IEEE Xplore Digital Library, and the ACM Digital Library. This step generated 113 nonduplicate results. Next, we screened the titles and abstracts of the 113 papers according to inclusion and exclusion criteria, after which 52 papers were excluded and 61 remained. Finally, we screened the full text of the remaining papers to ensure that they met the inclusion or exclusion criteria; 31 papers were excluded, leaving a final sample of 30 papers for analysis. Results: Of the 30 papers, 20 reported studies that focused on using AI to assist in activities of daily living. A limited number of specific daily activities were targeted. The studies' aims suggested three major purposes: (1) to test the feasibility, usability, or perceptions of prototype AI technology; (2) to generate preliminary data on the technology's performance (primarily accuracy in detecting target events, such as falls); and (3) to understand user needs and preferences for the design and functionality of to-be-developed technology. The majority of the studies were qualitative, with interviews, focus groups, and observation being their most common methods. Cross-sectional surveys were also common, but with small convenience samples. Sample sizes ranged from 6 to 106, with the vast majority on the low end. The majority of the studies were descriptive, exploratory, and lacking theoretical guidance. Many studies reported positive outcomes in favor of their AI technology's feasibility and satisfaction; some studies reported mixed results on these measures. Performance of the technology varied widely across tasks. Conclusions: These findings call for more systematic designs and evaluations of the feasibility and efficacy of AI-based interventions for caregivers of people with ADRD. These gaps in the research would be best addressed through interdisciplinary collaboration, incorporating complementary expertise from the health sciences and computer science/engineering-related fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere18189
JournalJMIR Medical Informatics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Caregiving
  • Dementia
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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