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Title: Social Robotics to Address Isolation and Depression Among the Aging During and After COVID-19
COVID-19 is exacerbating isolation issues faced by older adults, which may lead to increased risk for depression and other mental health issues. Social robots are being explored for their potential to alleviate these challenges through conversational therapy, companionship, and connectedness regardless of where older adults chose to age in place—from home to long-term care facilities. This is a discussion piece with the objective of raising awareness to the topic of social isolation within older adults and current limitations in the field of social robotics. We discuss the state of the art in social robotics for aging in place and bring attention to remaining challenges for addressing isolation and mental health especially during and after COVID-19. This paper provides a discussion on critical differences between environments where older individuals age, and how designs should account for these variations. Lastly, this paper highlights the physical and mental health issues of caregivers and provides a discussion of challenges that remain toward using social robotics to assist those who take care of the aging population.  more » « less
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23rd International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCII 2021)
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National Science Foundation
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