Exploring Requirements and Alternative Pet Robots for Robot Assisted Therapy with Older Adults with Dementia
Robot assisted therapy has been applied in care for older adults who suffer from dementia for over ten years. Strong effects like improved interaction and signs of a higher sense of wellbeing have been reported. Still it is unclear which features are needed and which robotic pets would are suitable for this therapy. In this explorative research we interviewed 36 professional caregivers, both experienced and inexperienced in relationship to RAT and compiled a list of requirements. Next, we used this list to compare commercially available robotic pets. We found that many pet robots are usable, although seal robot Paro meets the requirements best, being superior on sustainability, realistic movements and interactivity. Finally, a test with alternative pets showed that different subjects were attracted to different pets and a subsequential questionnaire revealed that some caregivers were not only willing to try alternatives for Paro, but also suggesting that alternative pets could in some cases be more suitable.
KeywordsMechanical Part Professional Caregiver Involve Family Member Affective Touch Assist Therapy
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