Memory matters in dementia: Efficacy of a mobile reminiscing therapy app

Fang Yu, Michelle A. Mathiason, Kari Johnson, Joseph E. Gaugler, Dan Klassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Reminiscence therapy has been shown to improve mental health and quality of life in dementia; however, reminiscence therapy is often delivered by therapists instead of being technology-enabled. This study evaluated the preliminary efficacy of Memory Matters (MM), an iPad reminiscence game on mood, social interaction, quality of life, and behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. Methods: This pilot study used an experimental design where participants were randomized on a 2:2:1 ratio to three arms: individual MM (one-on-one with an interventionist), group MM (2–3 participants per session), or waitlist control. MM was delivered for 30 minutes a session, twice a week for six weeks, followed by six-week self-play. Outcomes were assessed at the baseline, six weeks, and 12 weeks by data collectors blinded to group allocation. Data were analyzed using intention-to-treat analysis and analysis of covariance. Results: The sample (n = 80) was 82.1 ± 7.8 years in age with 58% female, 15.3 ± 3.3 years of education. Mood did not differ, except for apathetic mood between group MM and control arm at 12 weeks (P = .051). Social interaction improved for individual MM compared with group MM (t = 2.38, P = .017) and control (t = 2.84, P = .005) at six weeks, but not 12 weeks. Other outcomes did not differ. Discussion: MM improved social interaction and possibly mood. Future studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy of MM with a sufficient sample size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)644-651
Number of pages8
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Translational Research and Clinical Interventions
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research study reported in this publication was supported by the Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health that was awarded to Moai Technologies, LLC (Award #: 9R44AG053923-02). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Authors' contributions: F.Y. designed and implemented the study, analyzed data, and drafted the manuscript. M.A.M. cleaned and analyzed data and drafted the manuscript. J.E.G. designed the study and drafted the manuscript. K.J. implemented the study, collected data, and drafted the manuscript. D.K. designed the study, analyzed data, and drafted the manuscript.


  • Dementia
  • Mood
  • Quality of life
  • Reminiscence
  • Social interaction

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