|While getting older sure beats the alternative, the growing number of senior citizens around the world has resulted in an increased need for elder care services. With a population continuing to swell for people aged 55+ while the economy continues to struggle, more and more families are trying to balance caring for aging loved ones while also holding down a job and caring for their children.
Several studies have estimated that as many as one out of every five adults is currently providing care to a relative or friend who is 50 years old or older. A recent study by The RAND Corporation estimated the cost of informal caregiving for aging family members to be $522 billion a year within the United States. According to the Washington Post, that amount is approximately “15 percent larger than Virginia’s entire economy.”
It has been well documented that the majority of the global population is aging; the numbers of Generation X through Millennials will be struggling to care for their elders while caring for themselves and their families. With “estimates from the United Nations suggest the population over 65 worldwide will increase 181 percent between 2010 and 2050, compared to a 33 percent increase in people aged 15 to 65. That shift will create a large incentive to automate at least some assistive work,” according to MIT Technology Review.
Despite the growing need for elder care services, 65% of Americans who responded for a 2014 Pew Report “think it would be a change for the worse if lifelike robots become the primary caregivers for the elderly and people in poor health.” So despite some concerns, it seems obvious to also look to technology to help care for the aging population and meet the increasing demand, many companies are developing and testing devices such as service robots to fill the gap in human caregivers and potentially help more seniors continue to live in their own homes.
Continue reading ROBOTS AND THE ELDERLY: THE FUTURE OF ELDER CARE ISN’T TOO FAR AWAY