Throughout the ages, technology has played an integral role in addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems and it’s no exception when it comes to the issues of aging. With the tremendous growth of the elder population around the world and the shortage of appropriate caretakers, there is a growing need to address the “elder care crisis” with the help of hi tech.
As more and more people are living longer and straining the social system and economy of their country, companies are striving to seize this opportunity to use technology to alleviate the economic burden of long term healthcare and bridge the gap in the market.
Japan, one of the world’s nations who are currently experiencing a shortage of caregivers for its rapidly aging population, announced in March that the country is working on robot technology to help care for seniors. This joint-venture carried by the private sector and the government, promises to deliver robotic nurses and caregivers in a matter of five years. While Japanese companies are making great strides towards using technology to alleviate some of the problems related with caregiving, a Reuters article suggested that the receiving end may not be as enthusiastic. This is understandable since machines can not replace human warmth and interaction, and they can be intimidating and hard to use for the older population.
Similarly, staffs employed in the nursing and caregiving industries in Norway are open to the idea of introducing robots to help them perform routine tasks, according to a study carried out by SINTEF for the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities. The challenges of providing care for a rapidly growing population of elderly in Europe have focused more attention on the potential of technology to meet people's needs. With the 65+ population expected to increase to be 25 percent of the EU's population by 2025, investment in ambient assisted living, eHealth, remote monitoring and wearable technologies is increasing.
Artificial companions such as robotic pets could help monitor the health and wellbeing of elderly Britons, a new report from the Royal Academy of Engineering suggests. The academy said the technology is available to produce man-made companions for older people within three years, but it also questioned whether society has fully considered the legal and ethical ramifications of such developments, according to Reuters.
Many more technological companies in the US and other parts of the world are putting their expertise to work and coming up with innovations that will allow the elderly to age comfortably without depleting human resources. Among many other, Quality of Life Technology Center in the US is striving to bring new ideas to use technology to help senior citizens live as long as possible in their own homes. The technology will provide all types of assistance to the elderly to enable them to perform daily tasks without extra caregiver resources, keeping them out of nursing homes and elder care centers that are funded by the government.
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