How Robots Are Changing The Future Of In-Home Care

By Friends Life Care Contributors

After years of wondering, waiting and joking, the lifestyle made famous in the cartoon The Jetsons might finally become a way of life. But think less “flying cars” and more about robotics and automated systems assisting people. The future is finally here to help you live more comfortably, and Friends Life Care has a proven commitment to using technology to help our members live a more independent and comfortable life.

The last two generations of Americans have produced fewer children than previous generations. There are fewer people, relatives or otherwise, who can provide care for the ever-growing aging population in the country. Many companies are experimenting with robots that can be programmed to complete several household and caregiving tasks, including calling police in an emergency, to combat the aging population issue. Through our partnerships with Select Security and Wellness, Friends Life Care has provided nearly 200 members with home detection systems including dashboard-accessed wireless sensor monitoring.

The United States is slightly behind in the initiative to make robotic caregivers part of home health care. The European Commission invested tens of millions of euros into technology to help the elderly. In 2013, the Japanese government started pouring millions into incentivizing eldercare robotics development for companies, due to an aging population and the need for more help caring for those confined to living home alone.

The US, specifically Silicon Valley, have jumped on board with more and more companies unveiling robotic options for patients.

How Will Robots Help?

photo via. Public Domain

While the country is still some years away from robotic companions, there are several automated systems assisting senior live a better life.

Products designed for senior living have expanded in recent years and are now available to the general public for a fraction of the cost of previous versions. These smart home products provide security, monitoring, and peace of mind.

For example, the Amazon Echo and other voice-activated devices can control technology around the home to make it easier for older Americans. These voice-activated devices can answer questions, read the news, report traffic and weather, and even provide audiobooks–making everyday tasks a breeze!

In order to help our members live more independently and their families to worry a little less, Friends Life Care has long provided emergency response systems (ERS) to our members who are at risk for falls. In recent years, we have provided ERS systems with GPS capabilities to increase member’s peace of mind when they are away from home.

For those who benefit from additional safeguards, Friends Life Care is an industry leader in providing home sensor systems to assist family members in keeping an eye on a loved one. Using discreet wireless sensors placed around the home, the detection systems track an elderly loved one’s daily routine. Family and caregivers are able to check in at any time using a private, secure web page. If there are any disruptions, caregivers and family are alerted by phone, e-mail or text message.

photo via. iRobot

For those still living in a single home, there are devices that can do everything from mow the lawn to cleaning out your gutters. Robotic vacuum cleaners are now able to keep an apartment tidy without the need for a person pushing the unit around the home.  A device like the Roomba, for example, can clean by sizing up a room, and then traveling over floors in a pattern. Newer Roombas can be scheduled to vacuum during certain days and times. There are even devices that will vacuum and wash floors at the same time. Leaving you more time to enjoy retirement and less time cleaning.

There are even devices that help keep an eye on older loved ones even when they’re not inside the home. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, anyone with memory problems is at risk of wandering, and 6 out of 10 people with dementia will wander at some point in their life. Even when older parents don’t have dementia, children often worry about their parents getting hurt and being unable to call for help. For these older adults, there are location and GPS watches, which allow loved ones to monitor their location so long as they’re wearing the device. Other robotic advancements include a GPS mobile personal emergency response system that enables users to summon emergency help anytime, anywhere, with the press of a button.

There are also devices controllable by voice recognition that control lights, fans, switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers and even open and shut locks. In the future, Friends Life Care anticipates putting voice recognition devices in the homes of it’s members who would benefit from that technology.

The possibilities of robotics caring for people of an advanced age are endless.

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