Robots to care for the elderly?
- 18 Nov
To take on some of the burden of providing care and support for the rising number of elderly people scientists are suggesting robots to fulfil this role.
The life expectancy of people today is at the highest it has ever been. In Japan, where the world's oldest population lives, £14.3m has been allocated in the 2013 budget to develop robots to help with care.
Toyota is developing devices which will help elderly people with mobility support and Toli Corp has created a mat with a wireless sensor that can track and deliver feedback if an elderly person is moving around, reports the BBC.
A special root with 24 fingers has been developed to help people with hair washing and can give head massages too. This idea of robotics to care for elderly is already being trialled in many places such as Singapore and Salford.
The Spatio-Temporal Repreentation and Activities for Cognitive Control in Long-term Scenarios, also known as the Strands project, at the University of Birmingham has received £6.69m in funding from the European Commission.
In May the Strands robot will begin trial with an Austrian care provider and with start with simple things such as checking fire doors remain unblocked and defibrillators are always present and in the correct place.
"We're trying to free up more of the staff time," says Dr Nick Hawes. "One of the biggest complaints of care home staff members is that they don't spend enough time doing the human interaction and the caring part. We're looking at porter-type tasks and assistance tasks. If the robot could fetch the tray of medicine while the human talks to the residents instead of getting the tray and just dishing out the medicine because they're short on time, it increases interaction."
A project in Salford is creating robots that "can help supervise people 24 hours a day", according to researcher Antonio Espingardeiro.
Age UK says that many older people consider the television their main form of company and has begun a befriending service where people volunteer to go and visit and talk to lonely people. Whilst many believe these robots will be able to give elderly people companionship, Age UK believe the service they provide will make a bigger difference than robots can.
"There is nothing wrong with making smarter use of technology to help people manage health conditions and possibly stay independent for longer," says Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK.
"However, it is always important to ensure technology is only used where it delivers real benefits and to recognise that it is no substitute for the human touch."
"Some robotic device in a lonely person's life might improve it," says Dr Hawes. "But that shouldn't disoblige society from finding new ways to give them human contact. The idea that we can say, 'Hey, let's give them a robot and we don't have to worry any more' is the scrapheap approach."
What do you think of this? Tweet us your comments @suppsolutions
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/740945
- 01 Sep
Older people need more male carers
Professor Martin Green has said that the government needs to do more to recruit males into front-line adult social care roles, reports the BBC.Prof Green has said that with the increasing number of...
- 25 Aug
Survey finds older people have better quality of life in retirement villages than care homes
Chief executive of Audley Retirement, Nick Sanderson, has said that demand for his form of extra-care housing was so strong he could not build homes fast enough, reports the Guardian.He said: “I...
- 12 Aug
Older people’s Commissioner disappointed by Welsh Government
Sarah Rochira, Wale’s Commissioner for older people has said she is “extremely disappointed” at the response from the Welsh Government to its call for action to protect residents in care homes,...
- 31 Jul
Charity warns of loneliness in older people
The Campaign to End Loneliness charity want a “range of support” for older people to help them fight loneliness, reports the BBC. The charity says that transport and technology are essential to...
- 27 Jul
New housing for older people promised
Members of Kensington and Chelsea’s cabinet have decided to create 150 new homes for older people on the site of a care home that closed down in 2014 due to Legionella, reports Get West...
- 22 Jul
New drug provides hope for older people with Parkinsons
Scientists have found that people taking glitazone pills were less likely to develop Parkinson’s than people taking other diabetes drugs. However, they have cautioned that the drugs could have...
- 15 Jul
Lack in dignity when caring for older people in hospital
In a poll from 2012 it has been found that poor care is most likely to be experienced by people over the age of 80, reports the BBC. Over a third of patients who need help at mealtimes did not...
- 09 Jul
New housing development for older people in Sunderland
A 16.3m housing and care scheme has been opened by the Leader of Sunderland Council, reports Sunderland Echo.The accommodation provides 158 two-bedroom apartments for older people and 17 one bed...
- 07 Jul
Social care cuts leaving older people stranded
Age UK is calling on Chancellor George Osborne to put an end to cuts to social care funding due to the increasing rate the older population is growing, reports the Yorkshire Post. Age UK has...
- 01 Jul
Charity wants priority for older people in housing
Erosh represents organisation providing housing and support to 120,000 older people and has written to new government ministers in opposition, reports Inside Housing.The letter calls on ministers to...
Responding to the DWP Consultation: Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "Sincere thanks to Michael Patterson for an excellent presentation on the HB Reform issues in Leeds last week, and for all the very helpful info and links. I do intend to respond on behalf of our organisation, Caring For Life, but feel that Support Solutions' response is excellent." E.S. - Caring for Life