We are all aware that Europe has the highest prevalence of dementia in the world: seven million people are currently affected and this is projected to increase to 13.4 million by 2050.

In the management of the health and care of dementia patients, the caregivers play a pivotal role, but although caregiving may be rewarding, providing care to a family member is stressful. In light of this, the robotic solutions can support dementia patients and their caregivers. So, it becomes essential to determine specific needs and preferences of formal and informal caregivers for improving the assistance of dementia patients by a robotic solution, and guiding the technological development of the same robot. In this European project, caregivers of 139 dementia patients were interviewed in National University of Ireland (NUIG), in the Geriatrics Unit of IRCCS “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza”-Italy and in Alzheimer Association Bari-Italy (AAB). A six minute video on technological devices and functions of MARIO was showed, and all caregivers fulfilled a 43-item questionnaire that explored four areas: A) Acceptability, B) Functionality, C) Support devices, and D) Impact.

Moreover, the user characterization and identification of specific needs can improve the acceptability of the robot by patients. There are methodologies to assess the acceptability of human-robot interaction: in MARIO project, Almere Model Questionnaire was used to evaluate the acceptance of the robot. This questionnaire was specifically developed to test the acceptance of assistive social technologies by older users.

You can see links below for all related video sessions that the IRCCS team in Italy has prepared!

- Does MARIO effectively perform CGA?

- Does MARIO provide social support to person with dementia?

- Is there evidence of ethical concerns during testing?

- Are MARIO apps suitable for people with dementia?

- How was MARIO perceived when it arrived in Italy?

- What could MARIO do in the future?

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