The future of Caregiving

June 27, 2010 at 9:07 am Leave a comment

More than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aging family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one. (Caregiving in the United States; National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP; November 2009) Therefore, it comes as no surprise that we are seeing a boom of innovations that are geared toward assisting those millions of people to safely remain in their homes for as long as possible.  From Gero-technology systems to Mobile Service Robots (MSR), we are certainly changing the future of caregiving.

GeckoSystems is a company that has created “Emily”, a Mobile Service Robot (MSR).  Emily is a CareBot, which the company describes as  just another type of “labor saving, time management automatic home appliance”.  Like any other appliance in your home, the CareBot is a convenience.  Although, this convenience is specific to caregiving, allowing the caregiver less “time stress” with managing their own day-to-day tasks compiled with the caregiving needs.

“Emily” may alleviate some of the “time stress” a caregiver may feel by alerting the client of reminders throughout the day such as when to take medication as well as allowing the caregiver “virtual visits” via internet access to view the client in their home.  The MSR also provides a potential for the feeling of companionship, as it has the ability to hold a basic level of conversation such as telling jokes, reciting Bible verses, retelling family anecdotes, and even playing songs and music.  The MSR will also notify designated caregivers, including 911, in the event of an emergency.

The market for Gero-technology type systems is certainly growing with more and more seniors choosing to age in place.  Although “Emily” certainly does not hold a candle to Rosie from the Jetsens, I do think this technology has specific applications.  One overwhelming obstacle to the use of a MSR is the many homes that are more than one level and/or have steps to transition from one room to the next.  Among other concerns regarding this system, I also wonder about how the MSR stays charged and how this system is maintained to ensure it is working properly.

What are your thoughts on “Emily”?

Do you like the idea of using a home system setup to monitor a loved one, or a Mobile Service Robot (MSR)?

Entry filed under: Caregiving. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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