Robot companion to support the autonomy of people with dementia
Dementia is a general term for several progressive brain diseases which affect memory, emotion, behaviour, and cognition [1,18]. The global population of people living with dementia is 50 million, and this is forecast to be 80 million in 2030 . Dementia is leads to deterioration of abilities to perform Activities of Daily Living (ADL) .
ADL can be split up into basic ADL (BADL) or self-care tasks, such as dressing, eating, bathing; instrumental ADL or independent living tasks, e.g. housework, financial management, or taking medication; and advanced ADL or volitional tasks, for example social activities and hobbies [15,16]. Dementia usually leads to many people being unable to independently care for themselves and needing help with all aspects of their daily lives . Major symptoms of dementia include memory loss, difficulty to perform formerly routine tasks, difficulty finding the right words to explain thoughts or understand what people are saying, personality and mood changes .
Robot companions are increasingly being used to facilitate independent living and health of elderly people. There have been many studies regarding the therapeutic effects and efficacy of different social robots supporting people with dementia. For example, the zoomorphioc seal robot PARO has been successfully used to improve social interactions and reduce social isolation of people with dementia [8,9] and as a therapy tool . Additionally, AIBO the robotic dog has been shown to improve social interaction and engagement amongst people with dementia . PALRO, a humanoid robot companion, has been shown to encourage communication, intellectual activities, and fun for people with dementia . Methodology: This research would focus on developing a robot companion to support people with dementia to continue living independently by taking a proactive approach in interaction where the robot gives suggestions, prompts, and direction that are engaging through multimodal interaction. An important aspect of this research would be specifying user requirements in terms of achieving ADLs with people with dementia and their caregivers.
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