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Dementia and Robots

The Centre for Automation and Robotics (Professor Jacques Penders) and the Department of Nursing and midwifery (Dr Paula Procter, Dr Carol Cooper) at Sheffield Hallam University look into a robotic solution to help people with advancing dementia to maintain safe exercise regimes.

Currently people with dementia mostly rely on smart phone applications’ reminders, GSP functions and video communications in their daily lives. Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University started to explore possible ways to help people with dementia by using a robot. Practice shows that people with dementia rarely exercise. It is suggested that this is due to the fact that staff in care homes want to maintain their duty of care and try to reduce the risk of falls or anxiety in the patients with dementia. Wandering (when the patient with dementia walks restlessly), however, is quite prevalent in people with advancing dementia. The Researchers envision a companion robot that would be able to move around in a residential area, home or care home and would be able to provide a (positive) distraction to residents. Following on initial focus group studies which received a very positive response, researchers now want to design and build a prototype robot as robot-companion for people with dementia.

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