Taking an (Embodied) Cue From Community Health: Designing Dementia Caregiver Support Technology to Advance Health Equity

Guan, C., Bouzida, A., Oncy-Avila, R., Moharana, S., and Riek, L.D, Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI '21. pp. 1-24. [Acceptance rate: 26.3%] (2021).
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Dementia affects >50 million worldwide, causing progressive cognitive and physical disabilities. Its caregiving burden falls largely onto informal caregivers, who experience their own health problems, and face tremendous stress with little support–all exacerbated during COVID-19. In this paper, we present a new caregiver support perspective, where the lenses of health equity and community health can shape future technology design. Through a 1.5 year long, in-depth research process with dementia community health workers, we learned how caregiving support technology can reflect key concepts in dementia community health practice. This paper makes two contributions: 1) We propose employing embodied cueing, such as imitation or action mimicry, as a communication modality that can align technology with community caregiving approaches, promote agency in people with dementia, and relieve caregiver burden, and 2) We suggest new avenues for HCI research to advance health equity in the context of dementia technology design.