Co-Designing a Friendly Robot to Ease Dementia

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Kimberly MitchellXiaopeng ZhaoRobert BrayLuke MacdougallElla HosseMatt Rightsell

Abstract: Currently the majority of care provided to a person living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia (ADRD) is from a family caregiver. There are approximately 55 million older adults in the world living with AD [1]. By 2030, there is estimated to be 8.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s [2]. Due to impaired memory and cognitive function, persons with ADRD often face pressing challenges such as loneliness, social isolation, anxiety, depression, and stress, which in turn accelerate cognitive and functional decline, increase premature mortality, and significantly reduce quality of life in these persons [3-6]. Our project aims to develop a scalable, personalized, accessible tool, named friendly robot to ease dementia (FRED), to engage with persons with ADRD and alleviate their challenges. Using state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics techniques, FRED will assist with cognitive enrichment and physical activity to improve activities of daily living and quality of life for persons with ADRD and their care partners.By incorporating human centered design methods, our research engages the caregiving and Alzheimer and dementia community in the design of a non-drug intervention. Our paper will share results from our participatory focus group, which included people with ADRD and their caregivers (n12), in the assistance of the design and interactions of FRED.A thinking-aloud protocol was adopted once we had a prototype of FRED to share, where users were able to express freely any problems and/or concerns during interaction. Insights from the thinking-aloud results were used to improve the user interface design to enable the users and robot to interact and collaborate in an effective, natural way. Additional focus groups with our improved design are forthcoming.From our first stakeholder focus group, we have identified that ADRD patients need structure, organization, and routine. Initial reactions of the social robot were positive and supportive. Feedback from the focus group was carefully documented and the results will be shared in our paper.[1] World Health Organization, Dementia, 09/20/2022, Available from [2] J. Resendez, S. Monroe, A Vision for Equity in Alzheimer’s Research in 2020, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s; [02/20/2022], Available from [3] E.B. Larson, C. Stroud, Meeting the Challenge of Caring for Person’s Living with Dementia and their Care Partners and Caregivers: A Way Forward, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2021. [4] P.N. Bennett, W. Wang, M. Moore, C.Nagle, Care Partner: A Concept Analysis, Nursing Outlook, Vol. 65, No. 2, pp. 184-194, 2017 [5] National Institute on Aging. Basics of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, Available from [6] A. Atri, The Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Spectrum: Diagnosis and Management. Medical Clinics, Vol. 103, No 2, pp. 263-293, 2019

Keywords: social robots, dementia, co, design, focus groups, user experience, AI

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003141

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