Increasingly, older Americans are looking not to caregivers but to robots to help them age in their homes.
Whether they reside in their longtime homes or in retirement communities, a rising fleet of “bots” is working to provide tele-solutions to the older set, according to a recent report from Aljazeera America.
One solution, the MantaroBot, from TelePresence Robots allows telecommunication between distant locations, allowing older individuals to keep in touch with family or friends.
Another, the Home Exploring Robot Butler, or HERB is still under development at Carnegie Mellon University, but promises to deliver a range of services with its ability to move around and on command. In-home sensors are also growing in use to help monitor in home activities from sleep habits, to falls.
The solutions are being developed largely to address a growing problem: a widespread caregiver shortage that will be exacerbated by the number of baby boomers who will require help in their homes from activities of daily living to medical care.
“We don’t have enough caregivers, and people are not choosing that as a profession,” Jim Osborne, head of Carnegie Mellon University’s Quality of Life Technology Center, told Aljazeera. “There’s going to have to be other ways to augment [seniors’] abilities – and technology’s going to have to amplify what they do.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker