Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Caregiving Robot Provides Comfort, Independence (Research, Video 2:38)

Living alone as an older adult can be scary when you know you need help sometimes to care for yourself and your home. There are daily tasks that simply must be done. But suppose you had a robot to do specific tasks that you approve and keep you company as well. That could make all the difference in the world in providing you with peace of mind and independence you desire.

What could such a robot look like without being too intimidating? How will it move around your house while respecting your privacy? What can it do to keep your loved ones informed about your home life and health status? Robots, especially mobile manipulators, have the potential to answer all these questions.

Many of your needs are common to those of other older adults who want to live independently. During older adult robot research, twenty-one Americans (65-93 years old) who lived independently were asked about their preferences for and attitudes toward robot assistance. They were open to this assistance and generated 121 tasks they would want a robot to do in their homes. However, they were discriminating in their acceptance of assistance for different tasks. They preferred robot assistance over human assistance for tasks related to chores, manipulating objects, and information management. On the hand, they preferred human assistance to robot assistance for tasks related to personal care and leisure activities.

Meet Grandma Lea, a 94-year-old who lives alone with her robot named Mr. Riley. Her robot assists her with daily chores, monitors and collects data on her health, and allows her to have face-to-face conversations with loved ones and her doctor. Grandma Lea says Mr. Riley is a reassuring presence in her life. What do you think? Do you see living with a robot in your future? You can view this video about Grandma Lea on YouTube.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

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