Dementia patients may one day get assistance from robot helpers

A team of Toronto-based researchers have their way, older adults and people with disabilities – including dementia patients – will one day have the help of robots.

The high-tech, low-cost helpers are currently being tested at the HomeLab, a physical mock-up of a furnished single-floor condominium unit at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.

Although robotic systems such as this are likely five to 10 years away from being widely available, the lab’s research manager, Dr. Jennifer Boger, says they have “tremendous potential” for supporting dementia patients and their caregivers.

“They are intended to help alleviate caregiver burden and allow caregivers to spend more time with the person, doing things other than helping with activities of daily living,” Boger said.

While the the thought of robots conjures thoughts of humanoid servants, these robots are more like a system of sensors that can talk to the patient.

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