The perceptions of people with dementia and key stakeholders regarding the use and impact of the social robot mario

Dympna Casey, Eva Barrett, Tanja Kovacic, Daniele Sancarlo, Francesco Ricciardi, Kathy Murphy, Adamantios Koumpis, Adam Santorelli, Niamh Gallagher, Sally Whelan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People with dementia often experience loneliness and social isolation. This can result in increased cognitive decline which, in turn, has a negative impact on quality of life. This paper explores the use of the social robot, MARIO, with older people living with dementia as a way of addressing these issues. A descriptive qualitative study was conducted to explore the perceptions and experiences of the use and impact of MARIO. The research took place in the UK, Italy and Ireland. Semi-structured interviews were held in each location with people with dementia (n = 38), relatives/carers (n = 28), formal carers (n = 28) and managers (n = 13). The data was analyzed using qualitative content analysis. The findings revealed that despite challenges in relation to voice recognition and the practicalities of conducting research involving robots in real-life settings, most participants were positive about MARIO. Through the robot’s user-led design and personalized applications, MARIO provided a point of interest, social activities, and cognitive engagement increased. However, some formal carers and managers voiced concern that robots might replace care staff.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8621
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2 2020


  • Alzheimer’s
  • Companion robots
  • Dementia
  • Long-term care
  • Older adults
  • Qualitative research
  • Quality of care
  • Social robots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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