Cross-cultural perspectives on intelligent assistive technology in dementia care: comparing Israeli and German experts’ attitudes

Hanan AboJabel, Johannes Welsch, Silke Schicktanz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite the great benefits of intelligent assistive technology (IAT) for dementia care – for example, the enhanced safety and increased independence of people with dementia and their caregivers – its practical adoption is still limited. The social and ethical issues pertaining to IAT in dementia care, shaped by factors such as culture, may explain these limitations. However, most studies have focused on understanding these issues within one cultural setting only. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore and compare the attitudes of Israeli and German dementia experts toward IAT in dementia care, to contribute to a more cultural-comparative perspective. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 35 experts (15 Israelis and 20 Germans) in key roles in health and community services for people with dementia as well as in the fields of dementia and IAT (e.g., computer science, electrical/biomedical engineering, ethics, nursing, and gerontology). Thematic content analysis was used to analyze the data. Findings: Israeli and German experts identified the same social accelerators in the development and implementation of IAT in dementia care (i.e., changes in family structure and social digitization) and benefits of adopting IAT (e.g., enhancing the safety of people with dementia and increasing their independence). However, there were differences in inhibitor/risk assessments between the two groups. Namely, economic considerations and the cognitive capacity of people with dementia were identified by both groups as inhibitors, while Israeli experts additionally reported stigma and ageism. Whereas both groups agreed that IAT might reduce human connection, and that the technology is not yet reliable enough, German experts highlighted concerns regarding privacy; in contrast, Israeli experts prioritized safety over privacy. Conclusions: Our research findings allow for the identification of relevant similarities but also important differences between German and Israeli experts’ perspectives. As such, an important basis has been provided for a more in-depth discussion regarding where, why, and how culturally-sensitive technology development is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalBMC Medical Ethics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 7 Feb 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • Cross-cultural study
  • Dementia
  • Empowerment
  • Intelligent assistive technology
  • Privacy
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy


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