• burden;
  • dementia;
  • information and communi- cation technology;
  • nursing;
  • relatives;
  • qualitative content analysis

Scand J Caring Sci; 2012; 26; 104–112 My, your and our needs for safety and security: relatives’ reflections on using information and communication technology in dementia care

Aim:  The present paper reports on a study aimed at describing relatives′ reflections on different kinds of information and communication technology (ICT) devices that are used or can be used in the daily care of persons with dementia.

Background:  Many persons with dementia continue living in their own homes, which requires the support of their relatives. One way to meet the needs of relatives and persons with dementia is to use ICT.

Methods:  An interview study was conducted in Sweden (2007–2008) with a purposive sample of 14 spouses of a person with dementia. Qualitative content analysis was used to identify categories and themes in the data.

Findings:  Relatives′ reflections on the use of ICT were described as ICT – a support in daily life, ICT – internal and external conditions and ICT – the decision to use or not use. Based on these categories, a theme was revealed: shifting between different perspectives: my, your and our needs for safety and security.

Conclusion:  Relatives struggle to create a situation of safety and security in daily life for themselves and the persons with dementia. ICT devices with the right functionality and used at the right time are regarded as useful in solving everyday problems. In the decision to use or not use ICT, the opportunity to create a safe and secure environment overshadows potential ethical problems. Providing early information about ICT to persons with dementia and their relatives could facilitate joint decision-making regarding use of ICT.