Southend Council first to draft in robot to help older people with mobility problems
22nd November 2017
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
Southend Council has become the first authority in the UK to introduce a humanoid robot to help older people with a range of daily tasks.
While older people who suffer from mobility problems can get up and down stairs with a new stair lift, the innovative robot can help older people in a number of different ways.
The humanoid robot, which has been called Pepper, is the newest social care recruit for Southend Council and will free up care givers to do more direct work.
The robot can perceive emotions and adapt his behaviour accordingly, memorise personality traits, dance and speak 12 different languages.
The robot has been developed by the Japanese firm Softbanks to help with companionship amongst older people, but has since become a popular fixture in a number of different setting.
In Belgium the humanoid robot is being used to guide patients to different hospital departments, while in Canada it is being used in banks to welcome customers.
The local authority in Southend, however, is using Pepper to help with community engagement and to interact with older people.
Robot to display old video clips
One way the robot will help older people in Southend is by showing videos of events from the past such as the Moon landings and clips of the 1966 World Cup on its built-in Android screen.
Sharon Houlden, director of adult social care at Southend told the Guardian, “In a residential care home, he could patrol round and seek out people to talk to.
“He [could] go up to someone of his own volition and on the back-end he could send an email back saying: ‘I spent some time with Henry. He says he’s happy, but he looks sad’, and you could gain more knowledge about the service users.”
There is a memory game for older people currently being created for the robot and the robot could also be used in group sessions where older people teach children how to knit by displaying the different knitting techniques in a video.