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

13 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
Externally publishedYes


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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