The robot would encourage ambulation (walking) and encourage hydration (drinking water), and the reaching task—being able to pick something up off the floor or reach something out of the cabinet for an older adult.
Pamela Cacchione, PhD, RN, FAAN

As the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals, people aged 60 and over will make a massive impact in just 35 years – from only 12% to 22%. 

With so many countries having to face up to this colossal shift in their health services’ longevity planning, they are turning tech-savvy. From AI robots that can interact more like humans than ever before, populations globally may find themselves facing far fewer issues associated with aging as healthcare gets smarter too!

Prepare to get all the tech-know about Nurse Innovation, Robotics style! We’ve got Pamela Cacchione, PhD., RN., FAAN, with us on This Is Getting Old: Moving Towards an Age-Friendly World – and she’s ready to show you how healthcare can be taken up a notch.

Key points covered in this episode:

✔️ Achieving Amazing Possibilities: Combining Hearing, Vision and Robotics    

Pamela Cacchione, PhD, RN, FAAN, believes that improving vision and hearing directly impacts older adults’ cognitive impairment and mortality risk. Sensory impairment has become a significant contributor to healthy aging.  Pam made connections with engineers at the University of Pennsylvania and has become a human factors researcher with the interaction of technology, robotics, older adults, and how to design robots for older adults based on her expertise in sensory impairment.  

✔️ How Has It Been Working With Engineers?

Get inspiration from Pam as she shares how working with the engineers has been a great experience. She said they managed to bridge the gap between clinical and mathematical equations on multiple occasions. 

Moreover, despite their different areas of expertise, they have come together and created a shared understanding and language that helps them coordinate efficiently in solving problems. 

✔️Robots And How They Help Older Adults

✔️Relay

Relay Robots are low-cost mobile robots to assist older adults with activities of daily living. The National Science Foundation funded it, and what the robot should do was decided based on these interviews with providers like clinicians, paid caregivers, and then the older adults themselves. 

The robot would encourage ambulation or walking and encourage hydration or drinking water, and the reaching task—picking something up off the floor or reaching something out of the cabinet for an older adult.

✔️Quori

Quori got locked in the art museum when COVID hit. There would have been a good opportunity, but Quori ended up as a COVID screener robot.  It does what many nurse practitioners in nursing homes do during flu season—asking those flu questions. Do you have any flu symptoms?  And even after COVID, they’re going to have these screening questions. 

So Quori took the temperature and asked COVID questions. If you responded to them positively. It would send you to a health provider to assess and send you home. And if you responded negatively, you were allowed to go into the center. 

✔️Soft Robot

The Soft robot was designed to actually turn people in bed and roll them up in bed—it’s a soft material. People in the community want this because they have bedbound loved ones that they’re caring for, and it’s hard work. And if you’re by yourself and it usually takes two people for safety reasons, it’s really hard to reposition people in bed.  

✔️ Haptics (post-stroke) 

Haptics is an arm movement robot for patients with stroke. So older adults can be sitting, doing different movements with their arms and playing video games with their arms, with different grasps for different movements. 

✔️ PARO – Robotics Seal

PARO robots are used to decrease agitation in persons hospitalized older adults with dementia and or delirium. If somebody’s acutely agitated, nurses can just hand them a PARO robot and distract them from their agitation.  Older adults can also interact with this robot. Nurses set it on their laps, and they play with it. They can give it a bath with wipes, brush it, talk to it, they can sing to it and dance with it sometimes.

✔️How To Connect With Pam?

Ready to reach out and connect with Pam? From the University of Pennsylvania Penn Nursing website to her Twitter account, getting in touch is easier than ever. Enhance your expertise on aging by gaining insights from @agingsense1 and drop a message at pamelaca@nursing.upenn.edu – no need to wait! Becoming BFFs with Pam is just one click away!

If you have questions, or comments or need help, please feel free to drop a one-minute audio or video clip and email it to me at melissabphd@gmail.com, and I will get back to you by recording an answer to your question. 

More Resources About Memory And Alzheimer’s Disease …

This Is Getting Old has several other episodes about memory and Alzheimer’s. You can check them out below:

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About Melissa:

Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN. I am a nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse educator and nurse researcher with over 25 years of experience in the aging and long-term care healthcare space. You can visit my website at MelissaBPhD.com to learn more about me, how you can work with me directly,
and/or support future episodes of the podcast. Within the first 18 months of launching this podcast, we reached a ranking of top 10% globally. I have all of you who’ve been with me on this journey so far to thank for that!

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