. . . as ‘The Big Bang Theory’s’ Sheldon helps dementia clients in Scotland . . .
The BBC are reporting a pilot scheme in Scotland, where driveable robots are being used to help older people with dementia – the story can be found here.
The thing is, I saw the photo and thought, “I’ve seen this somewhere before . . .”
For those of you who haven’t seen it, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is an American sit-com about four science geeks and how they deal with the world. Doesn’t sound promising, does it? But it is a hit on both sides of the Atlantic and is up there with ‘Friends’ and ‘Seinfeld’ in terms of success.
The episode ‘The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification’ sees Sheldon Cooper attempt to deal with the world by retiring to his room and interacting with everyone outside using a robot with a webcam – and his head displayed on the screen. The Scottish trial is using the same principle but with relatives able to drive the robot and talk to the person with dementia, reminding them about taking pills and also being able to see what is going on.
The article suggests that previous trials in Australia have shown that the clients are not afraid of the robot, and that the Remodem project has high hopes that it will help improve the quality of life for dementia clients.
This is going to be fascinating to see how it develops – I’ve always been sceptical about IT and the internet being a ‘magic bullet’ for solving problems around social isolation, but this combines the human element and could be a real lifeline for both clients and carers. For more information, go to www.remodem.eu and let’s hope it makes a real difference.
PS – The big question is, can their robots knock three times and ask for Penny?