INTERDEM has various Taskforces in which committed members work together regarding a specific theme. These Taskforces are

Assistive Technology

Taskforce Assistive Technologies (lead: Dr. Franka Meiland, Prof. Manuel Franco).

Established in 2012 (Meiland, Innes)

Problem to address:  With the expected growing number of people with dementia, it will be challenging to provide timely, personalised, high quality and affordable care and support. Assistive technologies may be a valuable contribution in dementia care. However, various challenges in the field of assistive technologies have been acknowledged, such as: the predominant usage of technological solutions for safety and security,  the slow adoption, commercialisation and implementation of assistive technologies, the lack of high quality scientific research into the (cost-) effectiveness of assistive technologies,  the limited attention for aesthetics of technological support systems which can make them stigmatising, the influence of technology on changing relationships between care recipient and professional, the lack of easy access information about the products and how to obtain them, etc.. Collaborating in an European network of researchers may help to move this field forward.

Aim: To collaborate with INTERDEM colleagues in research and writing on Assistive technologies in dementia with the goal to achieve successful development, evaluation and implementation of Assistive technologies and thus contributing to a better quality of life of people with dementia and their family carers, and to a good organisation of care and supporting the staff.


  • Organisation of symposia on this field (Symposium Technology: technological support in dementia and late life depression, IPA conference 2015; Empowering technologies at Alzheimer Europe conference 2017; Implementation of technologies at Alzheimer Europe conference 2018)
  • Share news and opportunities for funding
  • Collaborating in research proposals and projects (Exergaming, Rural-Path, INDUCT, DISTINCT)
  • Publications: State of the art position paper 2017, see http://rehab.jmir.org/2017/1/e1/ , currently working on paper on implementation of assistive technologies in dementia care.

Taskforce meeting Annual INTERDEM meeting -29 Nov 2021- Interdem Taskforce and Funding opportunities

MINUTES – Minutes INTERDEM Assistive Technology Taskforce Meeting

PRESENTATION – Presentation WJC Interdem 20-10

Social Health

Taskforce Social Health (lead: Prof. dr. Myrra Vernooij-Dassen, Dr, Dorata  Szczesniak, Prof. Dr. Marjolein de Vugt)

Established in 2014 (Droes, Charras)


Dementia is a multi-factorial syndrome. Acknowledging the multi-factorial nature might help to overcome the paucity in dementia research and contribute to the explanation of the discrepancy between neuropathology and clinical symptoms and to its emotional and psychosocial consequences. It requires not only exploring the role of biomarkers, but also those other influential factors such as social markers. However, only a minority of dementia studies includes social markers. Therefore INTERDEM launched the social health in dementia theme by establishing a taskforce on social health. In a key publication entitled “social health and dementia: the power of human capabilities”  the relevance and basic conceptualisation was described (Vernooij-Dassen, Jeon, 2016). This publication paved the way to further explore its conceptualisation and operationalization  (Droes et al., 2017). In order to learn more about ongoing research related to social health, INTERDEM led two special issues (de Vugt , Droes, 2017; Vernooij-Dassen, Moniz-Cook, Jeon,  2018 ). A next step was INTERDEM setting the agenda for future dementia research in a new Manifesto (Vernooij-Dassen et al., 2019). In this Manifesto we  hypothesize that social health can act as the driver for accessing cognitive reserve in people with dementia, through active facilitation and utilization of social and environmental resources. This hypothesis guides several new ambitious interdisciplinary dementia studies: for example a study on the influence of social health on the onset of dementia (Kas et al.) and on the course  of dementia (Ikram et al.) and a study on the influence of social activities on brain health (Koehler et al., 2020). These and other studies into the relation between social health and cognition might provide a valuable contribution to focused interventions that help to sustain social health and cognition. The additional value of the taskforce is to continuously promote the theme of social health both in research as well as in practice beyond individual research projects.


To collaborate with INTERDEM colleagues in research and writing on social health in dementia. The concept of social health constitutes an umbrella to cover a variety of social markers or indicators. The goals are promoting the social health concept as a key marker in integrated dementia research and to achieve successful development, evaluation and implementation of social health interventions. Thus contributing to bridging the gap with biomedical research and understanding underlying mechanisms and contributing to a better quality of life of people with dementia and their family carers, and to prevention of dementia.


  • Organisation of symposia and participation on this field (Alzheimer Europe, IPA, JPND..)
  • Provide overview of existing social health interventions in dementia and relevant outcome measures
  • Share news and opportunities for funding
  • Collaborating in research proposals and projects
  • Collaboration of members in survey on social health operationalization in ongoing research
  • Collaboration with INTERDEM Academy
  • Publications


  • Ikram A, V. M., Melis R, Perry M, Vernooij-Dassen M, Welmer AK, Hui-Xin Wang,  Calderón-Larrañaga A, Dekhtyar S, Brodaty H, Sachdev P, Lipnicki D, Davis D, Richards M, Ploubidis G, Patalay P, Wolf-Ostermann K, Gerhardus A, Rymasewska J, Szuba A, Zatońska K, Szcześniak D, Leoutsakos JM, Astuti, Effendy C, Thyrian R, Chattat R, Jeon JH. (2019). Social Health And Reserve in the Dementia patient journey (SHARED). In: European Joint Programme Neurodegenerative Diseases (JPND).
  • Dröes, R., Chattat, R., Diaz, A., Gove, D., Graff, M., Murphy, K., . . . Johannessen, A. (2017). Social health and dementia: a European consensus on the operationalization of the concept and directions for research and practice. Aging & mental health, 21(1), 4-17.
  • de Vugt, M., & Dröes, R.-M. (2017). Social health in dementia. Towards a positive dementia discourse. In: Taylor & Francis.
  • Kas M, V. d. Z. E., Eisel U, Ikram A, Vernooij M, Melis R, Perry M, Vernooij-Dassen M. (2018). Social factors in cognitive decline and dementia: towards an early intervention approach. In. Netherlands: Memorabel/ZONMW.
  • Vernooij-Dassen, M., & Jeon, Y.-H. (2016). Social health and dementia: the power of human capabilities. Int Psychogeriatr, 28(5), 701-703. doi:10.1017/S1041610216000260
  • Vernooij-Dassen, M., Moniz-Cook, E., & Jeon, Y. H. (2018). Social health in dementia care: harnessing an applied research agenda. Int Psychogeriatr, 30(6), 775-778. doi:10.1017/s1041610217002769
  • Vernooij-Dassen M., Moniz-Cook, E., Verhey, F., Chattat, R., Woods, B., Meiland, F., Franco, M., Holmerova, I., Orrell, M. & De Vugt, M. 2019. Bridging the divide between biomedical and psychosocial approaches in dementia research: the 2019 INTERDEM manifesto. Aging Ment Health, 1-7.



Primary prevention

Taskforce Primary prevention of dementia

(lead: prof. Jan Steyaert).

Established in 2018 @ Alzheimer Europe conference, Barcelona

Problem to address:  Dementia has long been considered to be a condition affected mainly by age and other non-modifiable factors such as gender. Over the past decade, several epidemiological studies have highlighted that the risk on dementia can however significantly be reduced by addressing modifiable lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure, physical inactivity, smoking, lack of challenging cognitive activities and social health. Also, these lifestyle factors need to be addressed at middle age (40 to 75), as dementia is a condition that develops “in slow motion”. Deterioration of the brain may be going on for up to 20 years before it results in observable memory loss and changes in personality. The good news is that “what is good for the brain, is good for the heart”. Consequently, promoting a brain-healthy lifestyle also reduces cardio-vascular diseases.

Aim: To collaborate with INTERDEM colleagues and others in developing and implementing strategies to promote brain-healthy lifestyle and thus reduce the risk on dementia for the coming decades.


  • Organisation of symposia on this topic (e.g. IPA conference 2019)
  • Share news and opportunities for funding
  • Collaborating in research proposals and projects, primary prevention campaigns (e.g. SaniMemorix in 2018/2019)


  • State of the art position paper: Steyaert, J., Deckers, K., Smits, C., Fox, C., Thyrian, R., Jeon, Y., Vernooij-Dassen, M., Köhler, S. (2020). Putting primary prevention of dementia on everybody’s agenda. Aging & Mental Health, Advance access, 1-5. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2020.1783514
  • Van Asbroeck, S., van Boxtel, M., Steyaert, J., Köhler, S., Heger, I., de Vugt, M., . . . Deckers, K. (2021). Increasing knowledge on dementia risk reduction in the general population: results of a public awareness campaign. Preventive medicine, 147https://bit.ly/3uMMxOW


In September 2018, on the international Alzheimer day, “vaccine” boxes were distributed at railway stations, markets and pharmacies in Flanders, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany and Luxembourg. These boxes did not contain a vaccine against dementia, but a leaflet with information on lifestyle factors that could substantially reduce the risk on dementia. The aim of the campaign was to increase awareness about this brain-healthy lifestyle. A pre- and post-survey showed the aim was achieved, an article on this has been submitted.

2018 SaniMemorix Germany (13) 42186834_10215780496678188_4304245962957651968_n 42200187_2199397177014840_4881837751948804096_o DnmVJqRUcAAwio4 Luxemburg Bridel

Environment/ architecture


Intercultural aspects