On May 26-27, 2022, the Research Institute for Aging (RIA), co-hosted the ‘Walk with Me’ conference: Changing the Culture of Aging in Canada. As described on their website: “Walk with Me 2022 will provide the forum we all need to reconnect, reimagine and recommit to changing the culture of aging in Canada. Now is the time to share innovative and creative solutions to help us move forward.”

Our founder, Lee St James, was delighted to be a co-presenter with Stephanie Sanborn from Seasons Retirement Communities. Their session is titled: “Visits with Mindy: Social Robot Pilot Study at Seasons Retirement Community”.

Please click the image/link below to watch the ~20 minute presentation! (https://vimeo.com/703501224)


In April 2021 Seasons Royal Oak Village in Windsor, Ontario, began a 4-week pilot study with Mindy. The goal of the pilot study was to assess the potential impact of social robots on resident loneliness. A secondary goal was to gather user feedback on the experience and the type of training required for staff to use a robot. This video includes a summary of research results and key learnings. Lee also talks about ideas for future applications of robots to help in recreation activities.

What is Culture Change?

According to the RIA, “culture change” is an ongoing, holistic journey. That journey includes re-examining values, beliefs, attitudes, language, practices and policies. It also requires working to implement the full range of efforts needed to transform the culture into a community where everyone thrives.

In Canada, [RIA] envision a culture of aging where:

  • the personhood of each individual is honoured;
  • each person is the primary authority of his or her life and personal choices are respected and supported;
  • the focus is on living life to the fullest;
  • accessible and enabling environments support continued engagement and connections in community;
  • the body, mind and spirit of each person are nourished;
  • close relationships and authentic partnerships involving collaborative decision-making are at the core of compassionate communities; and
  • all care partners have the knowledge and information, skills, resources, authority and accountability to provide respectful, flexible and life-affirming care and support.

Here is a link to the conference website: https://the-ria.ca/conferences/walk-with-me-conference-2022/

About the Author: Lee St James

Lee is the founder and president of Social Robots Inc.

About the Research Institute for Aging

The Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) is a charitable foundation dedicated to enhancing care and quality of life for older adults. [They] drive innovation to tackle the biggest issues facing an aging population.

[Their] approach to innovation includes three phases:

Incubation: Discovering and developing new ways of doing things.
Acceleration: Trialling innovations in additional or new settings to understand how and why they work.
Mobilization: Sharing what is learned to benefit older adults everywhere.