A new study is investigating the impact socialisation robots have on the wellbeing of aged care residents living with dementia and the staff providing the therapy.
The research is being undertaken by West Australian provider Brightwater at four of its aged care facilities in conjunction with the University of Western Australia.
Brightwater received funding from the National Health & Medical Research Council’s Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre to study the therapy, which it has been using since acquiring a Zorabot robot known as Alice 12 months ago.
Built to be a caregiver, Zorabots can see, listen and move and its software has been designed to give it a friendly, playful, patient and active personality.
Brightwater CEO Jennifer Lawrence said that residents have loved engaging with Alice in a range of interactive activities since she arrived.
“This research is an important next step in understanding what impact she is having on older adults with cognitive and/or functional decline and how we can make the most of the opportunities she presents,” Ms Lawrence said.
The study is investigating the impact of incorporating Alice into activities on the target group and will explore staff attitudes on the use of of the Zorabot in a residential aged care setting.
“Alice presents some fantastic opportunities to try new activities with residents but is only as good as the therapy team trained to use her, so it is important that we understand how staff feel about adding Alice to their therapy toolkit,” Ms Lawrence said.
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