Remote activity monitoring for family caregivers of persons living with dementia: a mixed methods, randomized controlled evaluation

Joseph E. Gaugler, Rachel A Zmora, Lauren L Mitchell, Jessica Finlay, Christina E. Rosebush, Manka Nkimbeng, Zachary Baker, Elizabeth A. Albers, Colleen M Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The goal of the present study was to determine whether a remote activity monitoring (RAM) system benefited caregivers who aided relatives with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias (ADRD) living at home. We hypothesized that over 18 months, families randomly assigned to receive RAM technology in the home of the person with ADRD would experience statistically significant (p <.05): 1) improvements in caregiver self-efficacy and sense of competence when managing their relative’s dementia; and 2) reductions in caregiver distress (e.g., burden, role captivity, and depression). Methods: An embedded mixed methods design was utilized, where 179 dementia caregivers were randomly assigned to receive RAM or not. Caregivers were surveyed bi-annually over an 18-month period to collect quantitative and qualitative data on RAM’s effects. Semi-structured interviews with 30 caregivers were completed following the 18-month data collection period to explore more in-depth how and why RAM was perceived as helpful or not. Results: Growth curve models showed no direct or moderation effect of RAM on dementia caregiver outcomes. The qualitative data revealed a complex utilization process of RAM influenced by the care environment/context as well as the temporal progression of ADRD and the caregiving trajectory. Conclusions: The findings suggest the need for developing more effective mechanisms to match appropriate technologies with the heterogeneous needs and care contexts of people living with ADRD and their caregivers. A triadic approach that incorporates professional care management alongside passive monitoring systems such as RAM may also enhance potential benefits. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.govNCT03665909, retrospectively registered on 11 Sept 2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number715
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grant R18 HS22836 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Principal Investigator: Joseph E. Gaugler, PhD). The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality had no role in the design of the study; the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; or in writing the manuscript.

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the families who were kind enough to participate in this research project. The authors also thank Sharon Blume and The Lutheran Home Association, Belle Plaine, Minnesota, USA.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Aging in place
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Caregiving
  • Community
  • Home
  • Technology


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