Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Robo-pets may contribute to quality of life for those with dementia

Date:
June 24, 2013
Source:
Northumbria University
Summary:
Robotic animals can help to improve the quality of life for people with dementia, according to new research.

Professor Glenda Cook with PARO seal Glenda Cook with PARO seal.
Credit: Image courtesy of Northumbria University

Robotic animals can help to improve the quality of life for people with dementia, according to new research.

Related Articles


A study has found that interacting with a therapeutic robot companion made people with mid- to late-stage dementia less anxious and also had a positive influence on their quality of life.

The pilot study, a collaboration led by Professor Wendy Moyle from Griffith University, Australia and involving Northumbria University's Professor Glenda Cook and researchers from institutions in Germany, investigated the effect of interacting with PARO -- a robotic harp seal -- compared with participation in a reading group. The study built on Professor Cook's previous ethnographic work carried out in care homes in North East England.

PARO is fitted with artificial intelligence software and tactile sensors that allow it to respond to touch and sound. It can show emotions such as surprise, happiness and anger, can learn its own name and learns to respond to words that its owner uses frequently.

Eighteen participants, living in a residential aged care facility in Queensland, Australia, took part in activities with PARO for five weeks and also participated in a control reading group activity for the same period. Following both trial periods the impact was assessed, using recognised clinical dementia measurements, for how the activities had influenced the participants' quality of life, tendency to wander, level of apathy, levels of depression and anxiety ratings.

The findings indicated that the robots had a positive, clinically meaningful influence on quality of life, increased levels of pleasure and also reduced displays of anxiety.

Research has already shown that interaction with animals can have a beneficial effect on older adults, increasing their social behaviour and verbal interaction and decreasing feelings of loneliness. However, the presence of animals in residential care home settings can place residents at risk of infection or injury and create additional duties for nursing staff.

This latest study suggests that PARO companions elicit a similar response and could potentially be used in residential settings to help reduce some of the symptoms -- such as agitation, aggression, isolation and loneliness -- of dementia.

Prof Cook, Professor of Nursing at Northumbria University, said: "Our study provides important preliminary support for the idea that robots may present a supplement to activities currently in use and could enhance the life of older adults as therapeutic companions and, in particular, for those with moderate or severe cognitive impairment.

"There is a need for further research, with a larger sample size, and an argument for investing in interventions such as PARO robots which may reduce dementia-related behaviours that make the provision of care challenging as well as costly due to increased use of staff resources and pharmaceutical treatment."

The researchers of the pilot study have identified the need to undertake a larger trial in order to increase the data available. Future studies will also compare the effect of the robot companions with live animals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northumbria University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wendy Moyle, Marie Cooke, Elizabeth Beattie, Cindy Jones, Barbara Klein, Glenda Cook, Chrystal Gray. Exploring the Effect of Companion Robots on Emotional Expression in Older Adults with Dementia: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 2013; 39 (5): 46 DOI: 10.3928/00989134-20130313-03

Cite This Page:

Northumbria University. "Robo-pets may contribute to quality of life for those with dementia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130624075748.htm>.
Northumbria University. (2013, June 24). Robo-pets may contribute to quality of life for those with dementia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130624075748.htm
Northumbria University. "Robo-pets may contribute to quality of life for those with dementia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130624075748.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Newsy (Dec. 22, 2014) Bitcoin's stock has tumbled significantly this year, but more companies now accept it, leading supporters and critics alike to weigh in on its future. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins