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Countries look to robots for solutions to aging populations

10th March 2017

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Japan and the UK both have populations that are getting older faster than anywhere else in the world and to help cope, both countries are turning towards robots as a solution.

In Japan where long life expectancy and low birth rates mean the country has an aging population, the robots are being produced to help tackle the social, economic and medical challenges posed by their super-aging society, according to an article on Asia Times.

Japan and the UK are just two countries that have aging populations and while mobility aids such as straight and curved stairlifts help people get around their home, the new robots being produced in Japan will help the world’s elderly population by providing companionship, improving safety in the home and help with therapy.

There will be seven different types of robots being developed in Japan and each will help in different ways:

  • Power-assisted robots will help transfer patients from beds and wheelchairs
  • Personal mobility robots
  • Toiletry assistance robots
  • Bathing robots
  • Social interaction robots
  • Therapeutic robots
  • Monitoring robots

Robots being produced for dementia care

The Daily Mail reports that as part of a new scheme, ‘dementia robots’ are already being tested with people in the early stages of the disease in the UK.

The £15,000 new robot, called Mario, has a chest of information that can play music, films or TV programmes, a 3D sensor to help find items such as keys and wallets, a fixed basket to carry belongings, a navigation laser to navigate around the house and a button linked to the emergency services.

The robots will even be able to make small talk about the weather and remind you to book holidays.

These key features will help keep minds active and will help fight against loneliness that is linked to dementia.

Council official Andy Bleaden, who is responsible for the pilot scheme in the UK, said, “We want to bring in a reminiscence tool that uses pictures from family photographs, weddings, holidays.”

The new technology is also being piloted in Ireland and Italy and Robosoft, the French makers of Mario, have announced that the cost of each robot could reduce to £5,000 if it is mass-produced.