A recent report indicates that people above the age of 65 constitutes 14 percent of the entire population of the world. Although their number increases every year, their quality of life remains more or less the same. There are many possibilities before us to utilize the advancements in technology in favor of seniors.
In of the episodes of the much popular TV show ‘Humans,’ we come across an aged academic named George Millican. He has no family, and therefore, is living alone. Nevertheless, he is assisted by a human-like robot. It prepares doctor-approved food for him; help him climb up the stairs, take medicines, etc. It understands every need of Millican and helps him just like a human companion.
This may sound like science fiction. But the truth is that millions of aged people are living alone with no one for their support. They need elderly care and support. They could do really well had there been a human-like robot to help them.
According to a report by the United Nations, the number of elders is on the rise. It will rise by 181 percent by 2050 amounting to more than one quarter of the total population in the world. At the moment, Japan is the only country that has one quarter of its population above the age of 65. The Japanese government is promoting more researches on ‘care service robots’ because there is great demand for senior caretakers.
If the current situation continues, the global population of seniors would rise while the work force shrinks. In turn, the governments would be forced to spend more money on pension payouts. Apparently, this calls for a massive technological disruption that would cater to the increasing needs for elder care services.
Assistive Technologies for Seniors
Assistive technologies for seniors would help them live more independently. Although there are many such technologies in use now, they do not make the seniors completely independent. Some of the assistive technologies in use include tele-health monitoring, ambient sensors, consumer wearable, etc.
In Japan, empathetic robots do elderly care neatly and spontaneously without much human interventions. The country is investing feverishly in the research and development of senior care robots. It is even believed that the demand for such robots will rise to $3.7 billion in 15 to 20 years.