Can robots be good caregivers for the elderly? Some experts on aging believe we are only a few years away from the day when we’ll see robots taking care of the elderly. As automated devices are being used in increasingly new and innovative ways, it only makes sense to explore the idea of robot caregivers.
How Can Robots Help the Elderly?
A great deal of time and money is being directed toward researching and developing socially assistive robots for elderly care. According to the United Nations, the number of people 60 and older is anticipated to soar from 962 million in 2017 to 2.1 billion in 2050. With statistics like that, it’s easy to see why developers consider the aging-services industry worth investing in.
A few caregiving robots currently in the news include:
- Mabu from Catalia Health: Promoted as a personal healthcare companion, Mabu has been in development since 2014. While she isn’t mobile, she does have the capacity to interact with her senior friend. Over time, she learns more about her friend so she can ask better questions and initiate better conversations. She can gather data on medication compliance, nutrition, daily activity, and more. Mabu is HIPAA-compliant.
- iPal: Billed as a humanoid robot, iPal is another example of a robot assistant for the elderly. He can provide assistance to children or seniors. Unlike Mabu, iPal is mobile. He maneuvers around on wheels with sensors that sense obstacles in his path. iPal can remind a senior to take their medication, track daily activity, and alert a family member if their companion experiences a fall.
- Paro: Another type of assistive robot for the elderly is Paro, the baby seal. This advanced interactive robot is designed to offer some of the same emotional support that therapy animals do. He uses five different sensors (tactile, light, audio, posture, and temperature) to create a realistic experience for seniors.
- NAO: When it comes to beating loneliness and entertaining older adults, NAO is an expert. This humanoid robot can sing songs, call out bingo numbers, read the menu for the day, dance, and entertain. This caregiver robot is currently being used to improve quality of life for residents in assisted living communities and nursing homes.
As the senior population continues to climb and technology improves, it’s easy to see how robot assistants may play a role in the senior care models of the future.
Will robots replace human caregivers?
Researchers say it’s unlikely. The personal, one-on-one emotional and physical support of a professional caregiver can’t be replaced. It’s more likely that robots as caregivers will supplement the support of professionals.
Home Care with Heart
If an older adult in your family needs home care services for support with a chronic health condition or to rehabilitate after a surgery, Griswold Home Care can help. Call the Griswold location nearest you to learn more about our services and specialties.