Do Robots Hold a Key to the Future of Senior Care?

robots Do Robots Hold a Key to the Future of Senior CareWith a growing aged population and a shrinking caregiver workforce, the senior care industry is facing a serious impending crisis. Researchers estimate that 25% of the population will be over the age of 65 by the year 2060. It may seem so far in the future that it is irrelevant, but we are already experiencing a workforce shortage that is projected to get worse over the next 10-20 years. Scientists and innovators are working diligently to find solutions. Robot care providers may be the answer. We can expect to see robotic senior care assistants within the next 10 years.

Where and how will robots be used?

The majority of robots will serve people in their own homes, allowing older individuals to remain in the home longer. The goal is to enable people to “age in place.” This not only alleviates demand on senior care communities, but more importantly, it permits seniors to remain in their own comfortable, familiar environments for a longer period of time. There will of course, also be industry uses for robots. However, we will presumably see them gain popularity in the home first.

When you imagine a robot, you probably picture a humanoid looking, butler-style, home assistant. but, this is not how machine caregivers will appear or function. Rather, they will be small, specialized devices intended to perform specific tasks. The Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner is a current example of a small robot designed for a particular purpose. Robots will assist seniors with tasks and activities of daily living such as:

  • Eating
  • Cooking
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Mobility
  • Household chores (laundry, dishwashing, mopping)
  • Medication management

Self driving cars and other transportation aids will probably be commonplace in the future along with care giving robots.

How will seniors interact with robots?

Aged individuals are embracing technology more each day. Nevertheless, the idea of a robot care provider may be difficult for some people to accept. Researchers are trying to determine the best ways for machines to interact with senior citizens. They study things like eye contact, social and emotional support, conversation and movements of the robots. These devices must be user-friendly, and it’s crucial that people feel comfortable with them.

 

What are the advantages of using robots?

The most obvious benefit of using care giving robots is to alleviate the strain on the senior care workforce. The presence of robots will also relieve stress from family members striving to provide adequate support for their older loved ones. Most importantly, however, seniors will experience immense benefit from care providing robots. Not only will these devices supply physical assistance, but they will likely improve the mental health of aged individuals as well. It is common for older people to feel like they are a burden on friends and family, leading to depression and anxiety. Robots will enable seniors to be more independent and rely less on their loved ones. Additionally, robots will provide some social interaction and companionship for older people. The ability to age in place is another important factor influencing the overall happiness and well-being of seniors.

Robotic devices are slowly making their way into the senior care industry. It’s a process, but we will certainly see more care giving robots in the near future.