Loneliness among Canada’s elderly has been called a public health crisis. According to Statistics Canada, as many as 1.4 million elderly Canadians report being lonely, a condition that commonly leads to depression and overall deterioration in health.
Loneliness is also a major issue in America, where more than one-third of older adults report feeling lonely, the AARP Foundation noted in its 2018 survey. The report suggests maintaining meaningful relationships can significantly help.
“Companionship—a cat, a dog, other people—helps tremendously,” Zaïane echoed. “The advantage for caregivers of a digital companion like this is it can also collect information on the emotional state of the person, noting if they are frequently feeling sad, for example.”
The study was published in April in the fifth International Conference on Internet Science.