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You are ACE! Spotlight Story

Congratulations to

Julie Roppola

Nomination Category:
Individual - Innovation category

Innovation in aged care at Montclaire with Abi, the AI robot

Montclaire's forward-thinking Lifestyle Coordinator, Julie Roppola, has enlisted the help of Abi, the AI powered companion robot, to have meaningful conversations, answer questions, engage and interact with elderly residents.

ACCPA You are ACE! - Julie Rappola
Pictured: Julie Roppola, Lifestyle Coordinator at Montclaire and a resident, with Abi, the AI robot.

Abi is an AI powered companion robot that was recently adopted at Bolton Clarke’s Allity Montclaire aged care home in Brighton Victoria. It was designed using the interactive artificial intelligence technology platform, Chat GPT-4, to interact with elderly residents.

Using AI software programming, Abi can have meaningful conversations and answer any questions, recognising residents by their voice, and tailoring responses based on previous interactions.

Montclaire's forward-thinking Lifestyle Coordinator, Julie Roppola, has enlisted the help of Abi, the AI robot, at classes for residents based on the Year 12 STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) program.

"Learning is one of life's great experiences," Abi might say in her upbeat, mellifluous voice.

"Elderly people have knowledge and life experience in spades. You don't stop using your grey matter just because you have grey hair."

That’s the sort of eloquent, colourful statement Abi is capable of. Her insightful, often witty responses to questions that afternoon astounded the 15-strong audience, several born before the advent of television, let alone AI robots.

Julie tees up excursions as well as classes. Two weeks before Abi's visit, she led a trip to watch robots being digitally assembled. "STEM is about making science and technology more engaging and fun," she says.

"My grade nine daughter went to see 3D printing, and I thought why can't we? When I spoke to the residents they asked, 'What is 3-D printing?' They are keen to keep up to date with what's going on in the world."

After Abi's departure, Julie taught a session on seed propagation that involved assembling mini-greenhouses.

"They're learning and having fun, and so am I," she says.

"It's not just bingo and bowls. We have things like armchair geography, which not only reminds residents of the global map, but encourages travel stories."

Then there's the popular book club, in which Andre Rieu's biography is a hit.

"Turns out Andre was a cheeky child always up to no good," says Julie.

"This has seen the residents talking about their childhoods and how their own kids may have played up."

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Julie Roppola

Julie Roppola