How Robots Will Change Caregiving Forever
17 December 2020
The idea of robot caregivers may seem like a distant reality but it is actually closer than you may think.
With aging populations growing steadily every year, there are concerns of caregiver shortages deepening as time goes on. Seniors also face challenges with chronic loneliness and often lack much-needed companionship.
Eldercare is also very expensive, with private nursing home accommodations averaging over $90,000 a year. This combination of high care costs with shortages in caregiving has led to innovations in the field of robotics and AI.
Caregiving robots and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies will play a significant role in filling these gaps as we head further into the future. Their integration into caregiving environments holds incredible promise for helping those needing care as well as those providing it.
Growing Need for Caregivers
Countries such as the United States and Japan are continuing to see growth in their elderly populations.
In fact, the number of Americans over the age of 65 is projected to double from 50 million to almost 100 million by the year 2060. Consequently, the ratio of available caregivers for those that need care continues to shrink.
Japan also has an aging population and estimates a shortage of one million caregivers by 2025. With over 20% of its population over 65 yrs of age, Japan is actually the oldest nation in the world.
Robots and ElderCare
Source: Robot and Frank the movie
Robots with artificial intelligence (AI) have the ability to “think” and make decisions using information in real-time. They can take in data from their surroundings and respond appropriately, without help from human beings.
In recent years, AI algorithms have gotten increasingly precise and capable of helping those that need care. These smart robots can carry out physical tasks for people, engage them in personal conversations, and involve them more with the world at large.
Not surprisingly, Japan has been leading the way when it comes to developing robots for caregiving purposes. These bots are called ‘Carebots’ and are specifically made to help elderly individuals with physical assistance, daily tasks, and personal companionship.
The Benefits of Robots in Caregiving
You may be surprised to learn of the many different ways in which robots can help those that need care, such as the elderly or those with diseases such as dementia. Today’s robots can help monitor for falls, ask questions like a nurse, and interact in ways that uplift the moods of human beings.
Some robots still under development could send valuable reminders to take medicine on time, provide entertainment, and help engage aging minds with challenging puzzles. These capabilities can be very valuable to people who may be facing physical or cognitive decline.
Although it’s difficult to completely replace a real human being, robotic caregivers can do a great deal to supplement the need for caregivers during a shortage.
They can also free up tasks that human caregivers need to do, thereby enabling them to spend more quality time interacting with those that need care.
Emotional support robots such as the Paro seal can really help improve the moods of users while reducing anxiety and depression. This therapeutic robot was developed in Japan and can stimulate patients with Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other cognition disorders.
These patients may feel calmer and more comfortable with the help of an emotional support robot. They are also more likely to interact with other human beings and be less isolated.
Seniors interact with the Paro seal robot
Robots can also help people live in their family homes for longer by providing physical assistance. For example, robots can help people get out of bed, move around the house, and access items they need.
Panasonic’s Resyone carebot actually transforms from a bed to an electric wheelchair, thereby eliminating the need for multiple caregivers. Another humanoid robot called Robobear can also help transfer seniors from beds to wheelchairs in the future.
As you can see, the field of robotics and caregiving is quite exciting. As technology continues to get better, we can expect to see more nuanced robotic assistance that benefits people in numerous ways.
Although robots can’t completely replace human beings when it comes to caregiving, they will be very helpful in bridging the gap between aging populations and their caregiving needs.
To learn more about how Rose’s Agency Home Care can help with your caregiving needs, please contact us by clicking here.