Interactive Robots Shown to Reduce Loneliness in UK Care Home Patients, Study Reveals

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Interactive robots can help elderly patients in care homes cope better with the feelings of loneliness and anxiety, the results of a study published Monday by a UK public university revealed.

The research by the University of Bedfordshire has been touted as the largest ever global study investigating the use of culturally competent robots in caring for the elderly.

“Poor mental health and loneliness are significant health concerns and we have demonstrated that robots can help alleviate these”, Chris Papadopoulos, the lead researcher, said.

Irena Papadopoulos, who made sure that the intelligent robots were able to respond to the culture-specific needs and preferences of older people, said robotics could relieve pressure on the staff caring for the elderly. She said there were 15,000 people aged over 100 in the country.

“No-one is talking about replacing humans — the evaluation demonstrates that we are a long way from doing that – but it also reveals that robots could support existing care systems”, she added.

The results of the study showed a small but positive impact on loneliness severity in elder patients. On the downside, robots were criticized for their speech recognition limitations. The university said it would be built further research on these findings.

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