Can A Robot Care For Someone With Dementia?
Washington State University’s smart homes project, The Robot Activity Support System (RAS) suggests that it could help people with dementia stay home longer. The project has partnered with universities in the UK, including Nottingham Trent University and the University of Bedfordshire.
How does it work?
The Robot uses sensors embedded into the smart home. These sensors can tract the dementia patient anywhere in the home. The robot can navigate to the room where the resident is located and remind them to take food or medication. It can even lead the resident to the food or medication. And, the robot can give a video instruction is someone is having trouble with a task.
Does It Work?
The system was tested with 26 students. They were asked to complete three activities in a smart home, including getting ready to walk the dog; taking medication with food; and watering plants. When they struggled with a task the robot was alerted.
Using it’s navigation camera, sensors and software the robot found the one who was struggling. According to the researchers, patients can then use the robots tablet device to ask for videos showing how to complete the task or they could ask the robot to lead them to what they needed to complete the task.
Here Are A Few Problems With This System
I am wondering how many of these researchers have actually been around someone with dementia.
#1 they tested this with students? If this is designed to help patients with dementia why not test it on dementia patients.
#2 Many dementia patients will not understand or remember how to use the tablet to ask for videos or other help.
#3 There are a lot of emotions involved with the dementia patient. Anxiety, bursts of anger, depression, etc.
How will a robot help with these situations?
Dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease is not just about memory loss. There is so much more to this disease. Furthermore, it takes a team of caring professionals to help someone with dementia.
In honor of our founder Pat Mack we are carrying on the tradition of caring for our residents in "The Light Heart Way"
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