Research has shown that social robots can help improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their family carers. For Dementia Action Week, 21-27 September, we look at how social robots can help in dementia care.
Dementia Australia estimates that there are 459,000 Australians living with dementia in 2020, and almost 1.6 million people in Australia are involved in the care of someone living with dementia. Professor Wendy Moyle, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, has led ground–breaking research to explore the effectiveness of social robots, in particular telepresence robots and companion robots, to reduce behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia:
“When I first started doing this work people thought that this was dehumanising, they didn’t like the thought that we were using robots to work with people with dementia. Having dementia is very challenging for family members. They often say to me, things like ‘this person is not the person who I know’.
“I am very motivated by families when they call me and tell me how delighted they are to use one of our robots. The telepresence robots are so beneficial because they enable family to visit remotely, they can be there 7 days a week, whereas they wouldn’t have been able to do that if they were working or didn’t live locally.”
Due to our aging population, we have a limited number of aged-care professionals or carers. Social robots help people with dementia to stay in the community and out of aged–care for longer.
Professor Moyle’s research is at the cutting-edge of social robotics exploration and has led to invitations to contribute to the development of new technologies in the UK and Japan. Since 2019, Professor Moyle has led the Australian Aged Care Technologies Collaborative (AACTC), based at Griffith University. The AACTC brings together an interdisciplinary group of academics, industry partners and end-users in the first Australian collaborative dedicated to technologies within aged care services in acute care, residential care and community areas.
Given there is no cure for dementia, Professor Moyle and her team are driven to improve quality of life for people living with dementia and their families.
Online survey for COVID-19
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions many older people, including people with dementia and their carers, have been separated from their families and friends.
In cooperation with universities in the UK, Poland and Italy, Professor Moyle and her team are looking into the effects of COVID-19 related social service closures on the lives of older people, people with dementia and informal carers in Australia. Currently they are looking for volunteers to share their experiences during lockdown and to provide insight into how lockdown has affected their everyday life. Access their online survey to learn more and to participate.
Discover more about social robots and dementia through our open access research on Griffith Research Online:
- ”She Had a Smile on Her Face as Wide as the Great Australian Bite”: A Qualitative Examination of Family Perceptions of a Therapeutic Robot and a Plush Toy
- Effect of a robotic seal on the motor activity and sleep patterns of older people with dementia, as measured by wearable technology: A cluster-randomised controlled trial
- Social robots helping people with dementia: Assessing efficacy of social robots in the nursing home environment
- Using a therapeutic companion robot for dementia symptoms in long-term care: reflections from a cluster-RCT
- Use of a Robotic Seal as a Therapeutic Tool to Improve Dementia Symptoms: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial
- Potential of telepresence robots to enhance social connectedness in older adults with dementia: an integrative review of feasibility
- A social robot intervention on depression, loneliness, and quality of life for Taiwanese older adults in long-term care
Access Griffith Research Online for more research on dementia.