A Robot May Be On Grandma's Christmas Wish List
9/13/2012 by: Darleen Hartley
The younger generation takes to technology like a fish to water, but the elderly can't seem to warm up to the new devices. Or so we thought. As people age, independence and staying in their own homes becomes primary, so the older generation is considering robots as caregivers.
Many tasks become burdensome or downright impossible as arthritis, hip injuries, failing eyesight become a way of life for our seniors. Robot helpers can fill the gap between independence and a convalescent hospital.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technolog are presenting a paper on “Older Adults' Preferences for and Acceptance of Robot Assistance for Everyday Living Tasks. The researchers are members of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES). The research of Cory-Ann Smarr and colleagues found that seniors are OK with robots doing some things for them, but not all.
Housekeeping and laundry is high on the list of desirable robotic abilities, as well as being able to remind people when to take medications. However, flesh and blood caregivers are preferred for assistance when bathing or dressing and eating.
Many elderly have very active lives similar to Grandma Moses who gained fame when she turned to painting scenes of rural life after her 70th birthday. But even this productive lady could have used some help around the house because of her arthritis. As she neared 100, a little help now and then probably would have been welcome, even from a robot.. You could make your relative smile like Grandma Moses with a thoughtful suggestion of a friendly robot to make life somewhat easier.
“There are many misconceptions about older adults having negative attitudes toward robots,” Smarr said. “The older adults we interviewed were very enthusiastic and optimistic about robots in their everyday lives. Although they were positive, they were still discriminating with their preferences for robot assistance.”
So, instead of a new nightgown or box of chocolates, think robot when it comes to giving Grandma something she'll really appreciate this holiday season.
robot, caregiver, Georgia Institute of Technology, Cory-Ann Smarr, The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, HFES, Grandma Moses
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