Improving Resilience in the Elderly Through Robot-Assisted Dementia Therapy

Conference: The European Conference on Aging & Gerontology (EGen2022)
Title: Improving Resilience in the Elderly Through Robot-Assisted Dementia Therapy
Stream: Resilience
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Nadine Schweiger, University of Regensburg, Germany
Christian Wolff, University of Regensburg, Germany


The number of older people with dementia has been steadily increasing for years. Physical and mental fitness is a supporting pillar for increasing resilience with regard to dementia. Therefore, older people should perform exercises as often as possible and in a targeted manner to prevent and treat dementia. Due to high cost pressures and staff shortages, there are limited caregivers available to supervise these exercises. Therefore, it is necessary to explore a dementia robot that can be used by elderly people to perform dementia therapy exercises alone at home, without a rigid schedule. In consultation with caregivers, ball games, high-five games, and strength exercises were identified as realistic exercises. The robot should include an adaptive interaction system that controls the design and sequence of the exercises in such a way that the patient receives the best possible individual support. For the realization of this knowledge-based system, initial parts of the nursing staff’s expertise were acquired and formalized in five nursing facilities. Based on this, a metric was derived which, after a classification of the patient’s daily performance, allows an appropriate adjustment of the degree of difficulty of the exercises. The formalization of the knowledge is now to be discussed in detail with nursing experts from science and practice, verified and detailed. After completion of this knowledge acquisition, the interaction system will be implemented and prototypically transferred to a mobile robot. Subsequently, the dementia robot will be evaluated in a test person study with regard to its performance and its acceptance.

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