Title : Support in the home care of people with dementia through an accompanied personalized humanrobot interaction RUBYDemenz
Due to their prevalence, dementias are an ever-greater challenge for society as well as for the elderly. In Germany around 1,6 million people are affected by dementia today. This figure will rise to 2,8 million in 2050 (Alzheimer Europe, 2019). Therefore, the development of technical assistance and support systems is significant for society as well as for the persons and families, in order to be able to deal with the related challenges in the best possible way and to enable a good life with care at home. In Germany, the majority of people with dementia (PWD) would like to be able to continue living in their own homes.
The Researchproject “RUBYDemenz” (2020-2023, BMBF) means an intervention of a personalized human-robot-interaction (HRI) with a psychosocial support of the users by specially trained accompanying persons. The accompaniment, the use of the robotics and the respective effectiveness in the home situation with care for PWD are tested and investigated. The focus is also on the effect of the individualized functions (e.g. increasing the activity and self-efficacy of PWD, promoting communication and social participation) and questions such as how the psychosocial, individual support together with the use of robotics can strengthen communication between informal caregivers and PWD.
The robotic system can interact with the users by means of natural language, generate and capture emotions, emotional expressions and emotional effects are created. The system can detect the context of the users, analyse the user activities and the environment via camera. From this, the system determines whether and how it can react. Personal characteristics and wishes of the users are taken into account. Sensitive data (images, sounds) are processed locally (privacy and data protection). The system offers dynamic programs to activate the PWD (e.g. conversations, guessing games), to support the daily routine (e.g. appointments, reminders). It can identify stressful situations, have a calming effect and, if necessary, inform contact persons.
The new structuring, activation, feedback and communication system is introduced by specially trained accompanying persons - they train the users with the HRI. The training for the attendants and the training for the users is based on a newly developed competence-model (robotic-competence-model). The participants are involved in the preparation of the curriculum content in order to achieve the greatest possible gain in competence and to build up resources together with the users. The aim is to enable people to use assistance technology, to stay in their own home for as long as they want or to maintain their quality of life. The training of companions, the use of HRI and psychosocial support are currently being tested and examined in several months of practical trials in the homes of PWD. Design issues and optimization needs in development, curriculum, training, research and practice follow a participatory research approach. The existing ethical, legal and social aspects are continuously recorded in the research and discussed with the users. Existing areas of tension, e.g. between robotics and the users, are researched.