As technology continues to improve, robotic caregivers are now being employed to aid senior across the world. Robots and other advanced technologies can be used to help older adults monitor their health, stay social and perform difficult household tasks.
In some countries, like Japan, an aging population is demanding new and effective ways of providing adequate care for seniors. In other instances, robots are simply seen as a useful companion for older adults. Regardless, robotic caregivers are growing in popularity and provide an increasing number of helpful and unique services.
More Seniors Requires More Caregivers
The United Nations reported that the number of adults over the age of 65 could triple by 2050 worldwide. This will require a growing number of resources and services that directly support the elderly. In countries without a large population of working-aged adults, there will likely be a lapse between the population of seniors and the number of caregivers available.
Japan is one such country that simply does not have enough young people to keep pace with an aging population. According to the Economist, by 2060, nearly 40 percent of the population in Japan will be 65 years or older. For that reason, Japan is a perfect country to experiment with robot caretakers.
The Japanese government has already spent millions of dollars in an attempt to stimulate the personal robot industry, and it seems the concept is beginning to ripen. The Daily Good reported that currently there are many different types of robotic companions available in Japan, offering seniors and their families immense choice in picking a robo-caregiver.
There are models designed to play games and provide social resources for older adults, while others can support or assist seniors with disabilities or adverse health. Not only is there growing choice in the robot market in Japan, but consumers are responding in kind.
One style of robot, called Pepper, can understand and respond to human emotion, making it a very useful caretaker for seniors. According to the Daily Good, when Pepper first went on sale in June of 2015, the robot cost just $1,600 and the entire 1,000 robot supply sold out in under a minute.
Research and investment in robotic technologies is making great strides all over the world, but one model of robot is particularly interesting for senior care.
Built by a company in Texas, the robot, which is called Milo, can communicate with humans very smoothly, and makes hand and facial gestures as it does. According to Venture Beat, Milo has a number of potential applications.
For seniors, especially in retirement homes, Milo is a great social tool. It is designed to lead group activities such as quizzes, exercises, songs and other games. The idea is that Milo can be an adaptive figure that gives seniors a unique way to socialize. From an initial cost of $35,000, Milo is now available for $6,000. Venture Beat reported that there is hope that Milo can be a good companion for older adults living with dementia as well.
Robots like Milo may also be useful in school settings. For example, it will be used in schools in France to assist educators attempting to teach school-aged children English. Milo is seen as a way to support teachers rather than replace them.
Other robots are being used to help seniors in retirement homes connect with relatives. There are several models that come fully equipped with a Skype or video-phone interface and can be used by family members that otherwise may not have the time or means of visiting a loved one. These types of robots are helpful for seniors who have difficulty using a computer or phone.
Source: Sunrise Senior Living