Autonomous systems to support social activity of elderly people A prospective approach to a system design

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Arsénio Reis
Hugo Paredes
Salik Ram Khanal
João Barroso
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The reduction in physical and social activity in elderly people degrades the aging process, causing or increasing suffering to the individual and to his family and friends. Most times, the individual well-being is related to the strength of the social bonds with the family and friends group, so it is important to keep this bonds in the various stages of life, especially in the later life, when the individual has health limitations and is living in a community centre. This paper proposes an exploratory approach, regarding the use of information technologies systems, as autonomous systems, to assist in supporting and encouraging elderly people to preserve and develop their social activities and the relationships with their family and friends social group. During the course of the aging process, some aging people have their social activity degraded due to health limitations and institutionalization in elderly care centers, in which they are admitted as residents. We propose the design of a software system, capable of running in autonomous devices, such as, robots and other consumer appliances, enabling them to recognize and interact with the users, according to their state of mind and the specific current moment context. The interactions should be simple and focused on keeping the users informed about the current life events of their family and friends, and create the opportunities for the users to interact with the participants of those events by creating interaction proposals. The systems would monitor the user's family and friends group, regarding their information and actions on the social media. The system's interactions with the user would be based on that knowledge and on the knowledge of the user's current context. An adaptive user interface would present and manage the user interactions, acting as a mediator between the user and his family and friends group.