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Living with dementia – are robots the answer?
We’ve all imagined a future where robots are part of our everyday lives – and now we’re seeing some great benefits for people who are living with dementia through new ‘therapy robots’!
Robot Buddy is an adorable, Australian-designed entertainer robot who recently visited our Social Centre clients from Fremantle, Rockingham and Mandurah.
Specially tailored with dance styles and music that will appeal to an older audience, Robot Buddy has been a big hit with our clients and others who love following the familiar tunes and dance moves.
Coleen is Robot Buddy’s ‘robot wrangler’. She’s seen great success with the robots encouraging people to sing and dance with them, even if the clients aren’t able to get out of their chairs.
“Not only is it fun, Robot Buddy encourages engagement and creates a fun activity to stimulate minds and bodies,” says Coleen.
“It’s really rewarding, seeing people’s faces light up when they see the robots. The connection to the music is very important, but it’s also the movement and connection to dance – it can take them back to other times in their life and I think that’s why it’s so effective.”
The interactivity of the robots is having particular benefit to clients who are living with dementia.
Our Fremantle Social Centre co-ordinator, Jeannie, says that the important thing is that our clients are moving and doing exercise, while having a great time.
“The first time we met the Robot Buddies, the clients were a bit unsure. But once they saw them dancing and heard the music, what was supposed to be a 45 minutes session, ended up being an hour and a half!”
With hundreds of songs to choose from, Coleen is able to keep the energy – and dance moves! – up during a robot disco. She says the big hits are songs like ‘You are my sunshine’, 'Let's twist again' and ‘The last waltz’, while Jeannie hopes for some Elvis at the next session.
“The clients are already waiting for the robots to come back!” she said.
With growing evidence that new technology can help people who are living with dementia, the Federal Government has recently allocated additional $5.3 million funding to look at the opportunities that new technology can provide. This will make sure that people living with dementia have more choice and funding for to live a safe, comfortable environment.
There are many devices available to help people who are living with dementia – from day clocks, to medication reminders and sensors for your home.
New ideas, devices and gadgets are emerging every day and there’s lots of options for people to investigate. Have you found a smart device that has made a positive impact on living with dementia? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
For more details about our social centres and their activities, call us on (08) 9242 0119 (or 1300 761 577 for country callers) to discuss your needs.
To find out more about the robots, visit the Robot Buddy website!