The CACTUS research group

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CACTUS - Cognitive Accessibility and Technology Use when aging in home and Society

Living and ageing with cognitive impairments in the technological landscapes of homes and public places

In recent years there has been an increased emphasis on participation in society for people with different kinds of functional impairments. This requires an accessible society. Much focus has been placed on physical accessibility, while little is known of the cognitive aspects of accessibility.

Technology use is very important in today’s society, and peoples’ participation in everyday life  are increasingly influenced by the development and use of technology; both Everyday Technology, ET (e.g. cell phones, electronic household equipment, cash machines) and Assistive Technology, AT (e.g. electronic calendars and reminders). 

This on-going research programme’s departure point is in the identified gap between the technologically developed society and the possibility for people living and ageing with cognitive impairments to manage technology, and to access and use public spaces, part of the accessibility problem being related to technology.

Research leader


Louise Nygård

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 837 92
Organizational unit: Division of Occupational Therapy

Projects within the first track

The first track investigates the match between technology users with cognitive impairments and the specific requirements of technologies, with the aim to critically investigate the conditions for use, adaptation and development of technology (including e-health technology) to meet these users’ needs and desires, to identify mismatches and consequences of these, as well as to identify and try out improvements.

AAL-WELL: Ambient Assistive Living Technologies for Wellness, Engagement, and Long Life 

Knowing and supporting adults with cognitive impairment as users of technology

Knowing technology’s requirements and designing/adapting technologies for users with cognitive impairments

Evaluations of two instruments targeting the ability to use everyday technology

Resources in terms of self-initiated management strategies and learning potential in technology use among people with MCI/AD

Projects within the second track

The second track; “Access to and usability of places and activities in public spaces, particularly outside the home”, aims at providing new knowledge of the conditions for participation in public space and society outside the home for people with cognitive impairment, and to identify possible avenues to enhace accessibility and provide relevant support. 

Access to and usability of places and activities in public space, particularly outside the home: promoting engagement and participation

An innovative use of photography embedded in daily encounters in institutional dementia care


In both tracks, the research is undertaken in collaboration with different disciplines nationally and internationally, and in close collaboration with the health care practice field, aiming at continuous development through knowledge translation and implementation.

Both tracks move towards a combination: Participation in the public world and its technological landscape among people with dementia or MCI

Long term goals

This research programme aims at identifying new knowledge that can enable better support and increased access to and usability of technology and public space for people living and ageing with cognitive impairments, in order to facilitate their participation in the home, at work and in society. This new knowledge will also be used to facilitate engagement in and performance of everyday activities, increase participation and support well-being through improved match between everyday technology and users with cognitive impairment, as well as through improved understanding of the consequences that cognitive impairment may have on participation involving activities in the homes as well as at work and in public places, and of the requirements of technology and of public space.

Our insights into how support and environments, private as well as public, should be designed and how technology could be best designed and used to facilitate the participation of adults living and ageing with cognitive impairments, will contribute to the limited current knowledge about these people as active users of technology and public spaces. This lack of knowledge may today hinder large groups of people to successfully participate in society, hence interfering with their potential wellbeing and health. This knowledge gap requires research approaches where different populations with cognitive impairments can be explored in-depth and in comparison across contexts, and viewed as active agents in society.

Group members

This research group consists of 25 persons (autumn 2016)

The PI and leader of the programme is Louise Nygård.

Senior researchers:

Junior researchers (PhDs):

PhD-students: Rina Kaptain, Elin Pettersson, Monica Hällgren, Charlotta Ryd, Isabel Margot-Cattin.

Pre-PhD-students Sophie Gaber and Sarah Wallcook.

Research assistants: Brittmari Uppgard, Monica Panzar and Cecilia Bråkenhielm Olsson.

Everyday Technology Use Questionnaire (ETUQ)

Read more about Everyday Technology Use Questionnarie (ETUQ) here

Management of Everyday Technology Assessment (META)

Read more om Management of Everyday Technology Assessment (META) here.

A presentation of a PhD student in CACTUS

Meet one of our group members, Elin Pettersson and listen to her journey from an occupational therapist to a PhD student in CACTUS research programme.

AgeingOccupational TherapyRehabilitation