Designing Culture-Sensitive Social Assistive Robots in the Care of Elderly Living With Dementia: An Exploratory Study


  • Sumiko Shimo Associate Partner of Hofstede Insights, Canada



aging societies, elderly care, dementia, culture, social assistive robots


Globally, most developed countries are already or will soon be entering aging societies and the elderly population living with dementia has been on the rise. A key challenge in dementia care is to assist the person to sustain communications and connection to family, caregivers and the environment (Mordoch, Osterreicher, Guse, Roger, & Thompson, 2013). Also, the growing population of elderly people with dementia accelerates a labor shortage of healthcare workers, which increases the burden on family members and caregivers. With today’s rapid technological advancement, the use of social assistive robots in the care of the elderly living with dementia is hoped to address some of these care needs. Under such situations, human-robot interaction and user acceptance become critical when service robots start to provide a variety of types of assistance to users on a personal level (Kuo et al., 2009). The tendencies of how people and societies take care of the elderly vary from culture to culture. Several empirical studies indicate cultural differences in people’s attitudes and acceptance towards social assistive robots. This paper presents the first step in a series of on-going studies on the possibility of developing culture-sensitive social assistive robots by exploring the cultural implications of relevant literature along with the extensive academic research of world-renowned inter-cultural professor Geert Hofstede.