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Robots to assist older folks with home care?


A cool concept, no? The University of Auckland in New Zealand is looking into the possibility of creating inexpensive robots to assist older individuals with home care as they age. But first, they are doing research what older people's perceptions are of robots in the first place. Scoop Independent News has the scoop:

The study at Selwyn Retirement Village in Pt Chevalier gathered the opinions of residents, their families and staff on what tasks healthcare robots could perform, and what they should look like. The results showed residents would most like robots to assist with detecting falls, calling for help, switching on and off appliances, cleaning, making phone calls to a doctor or nurse, lifting heavy things, monitoring the location of people, and reminders to take medications. Staff also rated tasks such as measuring vital signs, general reminders, and locking the house at night as useful for robotic assistants.

But staff had a very legitimate concern - will robots take away caretakers' jobs? Yet the researchers contend that robots should be used in the event of a shortage of staff, not as a replacement of them. After all, the extent of what robots could actually do is more menial tasks, not more demanding work some folks may need.

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