Friday, December 3, 2010

Eldercare Robot: CareBot Companion and Caregiver for Older Adults (Video 2:19)

We can pretend that robots are only for sci-fi movies, but they are already being created to make life easier for older adults. Artificial intelligence of robots makes them especially good companions for older adults living alone or those in need of caregiving attention. What is artificial intelligence? This means the robot not only has the ability to navigate safely in its surroundings, but it also has the intelligence to do meaningful caregiving.  Maybe that’s why they are called CareBots.

The GeckoSystems CareBot is a robotic eldercare system that allows family members to care for older adults from afar. According to Martin Spencer, President/CEO of GeckoSystems, CareBot is a new kind of companion that “always stays close to the care receiver, enabling family and friends to care for them from afar. It tells them jokes, retells family anecdotes, reminds them to take medication, reminds them that family is coming over soon (or not at all), recites Bible verses, plays favorite songs and/or other music.” Even the voice can be customized.

From a security point of view, a CareBot alerts family members when unexpected visitors or intruders are present. It notifies designated caregivers when a potentially harmful event has occurred such as a fall, fire in the home, or even if no one has been present for too long. It responds to calls for help and notifies those persons that the caregiver has designated.

Referred to as Emily, the CareBot in this video serves as a helpful companion to Doris by keeping track of her taking medicines, reminding her about TV shows, and performing other tasks that improve the quality of Doris’ life.

What do you think about having Emily or another CareBot living with you or helping an older adult in your family?

Frances Shani Parker, Author


  1. So not sure about having a CareBot look after an elderly person. What was to happen if the CareBot was to break, loose power or turn off somehow? I still think a human being is a better choice.

  2. A competent and reliable human being is a better choice, but, unfortunately, they are not always available. The Carebot at home could be the only reason the patient is able to continue living independently, which is what most older adults prefer.

    Some caregivers who need help would welcome the assistance of a CareBot. CarBots can provide numerous functions, including therapy and household chores. They can be programmed to alert humans if they malfunction. They can be especially helpful to those persons who have short-term memory. Many patients who have few or no visitors would also appreciate this social relief from loneliness.

  3. My initial reaction is not good. Another product designed to replace human interaction and responsibility. I don't like it. I am a hired caregiver, so ofcourse I am biased. And, I am quite certain that APS would not allow an elderly person with dementia to stay at home (for long) with this. CareBot can't stop them from wandering into the street or taking the wrong medicine, etc.

  4. While each person is unique, depending on the degree of dementia, CareBot trials indicate that people with dementia can accept CareBots and even be amused by them. Entertainment robots have been used successfully with patients who have dementia for some time.

    The CareBot could be used to assist the caregiver with taking care of the patient with dementia. For example, Carebots can be programmed to answer the repetitious questions that some patients with dementia often ask.

  5. In the near future, as we progress with our in home personal companion robot evaluation trials, we will be reporting on the social interaction responses of the care receiver - and the care giver - to this new type of in home medical monitoring system.

    Nursing Home Birchwood

  6. Have to say slightly scary that this is the direction we could be going in soon! Nothing will replace proper healthcare nore will anything replace the support and love from your family. I can understand why these devices may be useful in certain circumstances but i think they would need to be used very sparingly!