Robot helping to connect St. Paul Elder residents with families

Rolly the Robot is helping to bring families together at St. Paul Elder Care.

A Telepresence Robotics Pilot Project is taking place at Kaukauna’s St. Paul Elder Services, Inc. in Kaukauna to help reduce social isolation and bring families together.

The goal is to improve the lives of people living in care homes in which the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project (APP) is conducting arts programming on a regular basis.

On Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., families inhabited Rolly to visit their loved ones. Together, St. Paul residents and APP staff recited an original poem created by the residents on the theme of “What we are thankful for?” A rousing version of “Roll out the Robot!” was sung as well.

At a recent weekly Happy Hour event, the residents had a naming contest, and “Rolly the Robot” was the winning name.

Becky Reichelt, St. Paul’s executive vice president, said, “I have observed a number of positive outcomes from the robot programming that I do not necessarily observe from traditional programming. I have been pleased to see that residents are engaging with each other when Rolly is approaching them, during their interactions, and as Rolly leaves. Rolly appears to be a catalyst for initiating peer-to-peer engagements.”

McKenzie Krohn, St. Paul Manor’s activities director, said, “It is so great to see the residents so engaged with the programs that include Rolly. Technology is a relatively new concept for our friends, but the way they interact with the person(s) on the screen is so heartwarming to watch unfold.”

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