Social robots help combat loneliness among elderly
Home care centers have been distributing social robots to help fight against loneliness among elderly citizens.
"In the beginning, I found it a bit strange," Will van Voorden from Lekkerkerk told Omroep West about his social robot, Tessa. "But now I began talking back and that is very nice," Van Voorden said.
The Dutch company TinyBots created Tessa. The social robot can come in the shape of a flowerpot, greet its owner and make suggestions, such as "How about a fresh glass of lemonade?"
The robots can also be connected to a smartphone and help the elderly read out messages from their phone. It can also remind people of their appointments.
People aged 85 and older are the most lonely, according to data from Statistics Netherlands and the RIVM. Around 66 percent indicated that they feel lonely and 14 percent in the age group said they feel very lonely.
Van Voorden got his house guest from the home care organization Zorgpartners. "My wife and I pass by her nearly every day. We often eat together, but Tessa now brings a little more liveliness."
Tessa is a more affordable version of social robots, primarily used in in-care facilities due to their high price.
Currently, the robot is not able to talk back yet.