Examination of Practicability of Communication Robot-Assisted Activity Program for Elderly People
Masayoshi Kanoh*1, Yukio Oida*1, Yu Nomura*1, Atsushi Araki*1,
Yoko Konagaya*2, Kazushige Ihara*3, Taro Shimizu*4,
and Kenji Kimura*4
*1Chukyo University, 101 Tokodachi, Kaizu-cho, Toyota 470-0393, Japan
*2Obu Dementia Care and Training Center, 3-294 Hantsuki-cho, Obu, Aichi 474-0037, Japan
*3Faculty of Medicine, Toho University, 5-21-16 Omori-Nishi, Ota-ku, Tokyo 143-8540, Japan
*4Business Design Laboratory Co., Ltd, 18-1 Sakae 3-chome, Naka-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
We have developed a Robot Assisted Activity (RAA) program for recreational use in health care facilities for elderly people. The RAA program has been evaluated in such a facility to assess its usefulness. The program applies a standard classroom model, starting with homeroom and including lessons in the Japanese language, music, gymnastics, arithmetic, and other subjects. At the end of the program, there is a graduation ceremony. We use a video camera to record each scene. Each behavior and utterance of the participants is then analyzed. In addition, immediately upon completion of the RAA program, specialists conduct a Focus Group Interview (FGI) in which they collect comments, opinions, and requests from the participants. Ten elderly people participate in the program, two men and eight women (81.0±3.7 years old). All are residents at a health care facility in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. TheMMSE (MiniMental State Examination) score indicating the level of dementia is 24.1±3.0 points. Two participants are judged to be in a moderate stage of cognitive decline (21 points or less), six are in a mild stage (22-26 points), and the remaining two are normal. On the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), in which a score of 13.3±4.2 points indicates a state of depression, seven participants are judged to be depressive (11 points or more). The results of our study show that all participants have a favorable impression of the robot and nearly all have a positive opinion of the RAA program. This suggests that the program can be used for emotional and recreational therapy at health care facilities for the elderly. However, in spite of the overall success of the RAA program, we seldom observe interaction between participants and the robot.
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