Front Porch Study Documents Benefits of PARO Robot

CAST | March 29, 2016

Six months after it introduced PARO to residents of 7 memory care neighborhoods in California, CAST Patron Front Porch is finding that the robotic baby seal is having a positive impact on health and well-being.  

Six months after it introduced PARO to residents of 7 memory care neighborhoods in California, CAST Patron Front Porch is finding that the robotic baby seal is having a positive impact on health and well-being.  

PARO, a cuddly interactive robot, is equipped with a variety of sensors that detect touch, light, sound, and temperature. The robot responds with movement and sound when users touch or talk to it. 

"We continue to be astounded by the impact (of PARO) on mood, social interaction, and communication," said Davis Park, director of the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing (FPCIW) in a statement

Study Findings 

A 6-month study of 920 interactions between PARO and Front Porch residents showed that the robot:

  • Calmed 73% of residents who wander and 59% of residents with anxiety.
  • Helped increase social behavior among 97% of isolated adults.
  • Helped 153 out of 193 residents (79%) stay alert, resulting in improved moods, socialization, and appetite.
  • Helped residents avoid psychotropic medications in 61% of cases where medications were considered an option.

 

The Front Porch study is the largest quantitative evaluation of PARO since the robot was developed in 2003 by Dr. Takanori Shibata, an engineer at National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan.

"Front Porch is exploring creative solutions to address needs for which we currently don't have an easy solution," said CAST Commissioner Kari Olson, who is chief innovation and technology officer at Front Porch and president of FPCIW. "PARO is one example of our continuing efforts to work with thought leaders and implement various modalities to bring greater wellness and quality of life to our residents based on leading edge innovations in the areas of adaptive technology, music therapy, telehealth, and more."

About Front Porch 

Founded in 1999, Front Porch serves more than 2,000 people in 10 full-service retirement communities in California and two adult living communities: one in Louisiana and one in Florida. Summer House memory care neighborhoods are located in 7 Front Porch retirement communities in California.

The Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing strives to harness technology solutions that support and enhance well-being in older adults. Core initiatives focus on how technology can: 

 

  • Assist in maintaining brain health.
  • Enhance social connectedness.
  • Promote engagement and growth.
  • Empower control over health and wellness.
  • Prevent emergencies or serious events.
  • Increase resources and support for formal and informal caregivers.