As we head into holiday season and continue with restrictions on family gatherings, I am acutely aware of how many people will be on their own. I have blogged about isolation and loneliness and I think this year will be particularly challenging for many.
Two years ago I had the very good fortune of visiting a Japanese nursing home. I had arranged to meet the president and CEO of the Silverwing Social Welfare Corporation and tour the Shintomi nursing home, the first of its kind in so many ways. Shintomi incorporates what they refer to as ‘new care style with care robots’ and I had the pleasure of having a tour and was shown a selection of their Nursing-Care Robots.
While many of these carebots were used to help in the heavy lifting- figuratively, some were used for resident interaction and stimulation. I met Pepper, who led an exercise class, and furry Paro who responded to touch as well as well as robodogs, who bark and wag their tail. I now have two clients who have their own ‘robodog’ and they look so real that even Ambassador dog Ziggy was confused.
These robodogs were intended for those with dementia but truly, they do provide companionship (of sorts) and stimulation. I thought I would share a short video of Paro and the robodogs so you can see first hand the enjoyment they bring. Unfortunately the movie exceeds what I can insert, so I have included a screen shot and if you are interested in seeing Paro or Pepper do their thing, please let me know.
Interaction with humankind is absolutely preferred, but when times are tough, a furry robo pet may be something worth considering.