Robot Roomies

New Tech May Relieve Elder Isolation




Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com

Approximately a third of those older than 65 and half of elders at least 85 live alone, as do many people with illnesses and mental disorders. All can suffer from feelings of profound loneliness. Emerging virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies provide avenues to alleviate such isolation, instilling contentment, peace of mind, enrichment, fun, a sense of companionship and contributing to physical and mental health.

Instead of passively watching TV, seniors can travel virtually to World Heritage sites, revisit old haunts or even attend family events they would otherwise miss. In terms of benefits attained, VR is predicted to measurably improve seniors’ quality of life.

Healthcare applications of AI and telemedicine include reminders to eat, be active or take medications, perhaps assisted by a robotic companion that can share information with practitioners, children, caregivers and emergency personnel. Social applications include helping to form and maintain social connections. It may also serve as a personal concierge by reminding seniors of appointments, playing games with them and initiating dialogue to spark outward engagement.


This article appears in the December 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Dirt Houses Cancer-Protective Microbe

Soil contains bacteria that kills melanoma cancer cells, say Oregon State University researchers.

Doctors Underestimate Opioid Prescriptions

A survey of 109 emergency room doctors found they frequently underestimated how often they prescribed opioids and that they prescribed fewer when alerted to the situation.

Asthma Less Likely to Afflict Breastfed Kids

Dutch children that had been breastfed had a 45 percent lower incidence of asthma later in childhood.

Spanking Linked to Mental Health Problems

Adults that were spanked as children turned out to have a higher risk of depression, suicide attempts, drinking and drug use, according to University of Michigan researchers.

Wild Berries Prove Anti-Cancer Prowess

A naturally occurring compound found abundantly in wild berries increases the cancer-fighting ability of sirtuin 6 enzymes.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »This Month

Why Wellness is Central to Everything We Do

We sat down with Beth Gardner, certified lifestyle educator and the director of health and wellness for Acton Pharmacy, Keyes Drug, in Newton, and West Concord Pharmacy to discuss this topic in detail.

ONU Will Lead a New Wellness Workshop

ONU is offering a new wellness workshop from 2:30 to 4 p.m., September 29, at Alchemy Yoga.

The Wise Way to Yoga for Joints Health

Cecile Raynor of Off The Mat Yoga is now offering a new version of her Wise Way to Yoga online course starting in September.

UNITE on 9/11 at Free Gathering at Hatch Memorial Shell

Live Thrive Love will be holding a gathering from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., September 11, at the Hatch Memorial Shell.

NLP Practitioner Certification Training

The Empowerment Partnership is offering integrative neuro linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner certification training from October 18 to 21.

Travel to India and Nepal for Spiritual Retreat

Join Bhavna’s Wellness Group on a spiritual retreat to India and Nepal from February 16 to 26, 2019.