How robot pets and Google can help people live independently

“I found out that I can record my voice and use it as an alarm, so I actually have verbal instructions,” says Redman. “I’ve tried most of the time to make a little joke out of things so I don’t get too upset.”

Google Home (a smart speaker with a voice-activated virtual assistant using artificial intelligence) reminds you every 90 minutes to grab a drink and “stretch your legs,” a euphemistic reminder to “go potty.”

Redman says the prompts are ideal for people like her who live alone, but also those who have caregivers.

Bobby Redman has recorded voice memos on his smartphone.

Bobby Redman has recorded voice memos on his smartphone.Credit:edwin pickles

“Part of the problem is that caregivers get tired of constant prompting and people with dementia get irritated with people telling them what to do. If we tell ourselves what to do, that makes life more enjoyable for everyone, and it really helps maintain independence.”

Sensors in Redman’s walls monitor his movements and record whether he gets out of bed later or doesn’t go to the bathroom regularly. Redman analyzes his own activity on an app on his phone.

“As a psychologist, I know that one of the first clues that things are going wrong is when behavior patterns start to change,” she says.

Bobby Redman uses timers in his kitchen and photos of where things belong to remind him of it.

Bobby Redman uses timers in his kitchen and photos of where things belong to remind him of it. Credit: edwin pickles

A sensor also triggers an alarm if Redman’s door is left open for more than 10 minutes.

When Redman leaves the house, she slips a personal alarm pendant into her bra, which tracks her movements with GPS and detects if she falls.

“If there is a sudden jolt, they [someone from the monitoring service] he actually talks to me through the pendant and says, ‘Are you okay? You’ve fallen? If I don’t respond, they send an alarm that alerts the police to come check on me,” she explains.

‘If we tell ourselves what to do, that makes life more enjoyable for everyone, and it really helps maintain independence.’

bobby redman

Redman believes the technology will give him more years of independent living, he says. “I feel safe now, I don’t feel at risk.”

Charging

John Sutherland, chief information officer at elderly care provider HammondCare, says technology and artificial intelligence are being used more and more to help people with dementia.

He says a smartphone app uses facial analysis and artificial intelligence to assess the level of pain experienced by people with dementia who can’t articulate what they’re feeling.

“Smart sensors in the home will allow us all to remain more independent and stay home longer, which is where we normally like to be,” says Sutherland, who will also be on the panel at the International Dementia Conference.

Charging

Meanwhile, Redman has prepared for the future by purchasing a robot dog, Benji. Research has found that robotic pets reduce stress and anxiety in people living with dementia and reduce the use of painkillers.

“I don’t need it yet,” Redman says. “But I thought that if I adapted to him, when I’m sitting watching TV, I’ll put him next to me and pet him, so that when the time comes that I might need him, he’ll be familiar. me.”

The International Dementia Conference will take place on September 8-9 in Sydney.

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