In developed countries, the elderly population is growing, which brings with it a demand for healthcare that there aren’t enough physicians to fill (Sanyal). One of the solutions to the growing demand for elderly care is increased use of artificial technology for at-home health monitoring, smart device daily assisted living, and virtual companions.
When it comes to at-home health monitoring, technology can be used to monitor everything from movement, sleeping, and bathroom trips to use of electrical appliances (Dossman). In the context of the daily life of a younger individual, this may sound scary, but for senior citizens, these devices can ensure their wellbeing while allowing them to live “independent” lives for as long as possible.
In addition to improving quality of life for the elderly through monitoring their daily habits, artificial intelligence can also increase the happiness of elders by fulfilling their social needs. Robotic baby seals can be used as therapy animals for people with dementia and mental health issues, as well as provide companionship for people living in nursing homes with pet restrictions (GE). Similarly, there are apps that target older audiences that allow them to care for virtual pets. In addition to animal friends, mobile robotic telepresence systems can also be used to ensure that seniors have someone to keep them company throughout their days.
AI and robotics are revolutionizing elderly care, making it possible for seniors to live healthier, longer, happier lives. While some may be concerned about robots filling human jobs, in this case, it’s actually necessary: by 2030, the US will face a shortage in physicians between 40,800 and 104,900 (Mann). Ideally, by using technology to help fill this demand, more people will be able to receive care without overburdening physicians. AI works well in the field of healthcare because it’s a field where the demand for care exceeds what humans can currently provide.
Dossman, Christopher. “The State of Elderly Care Products and How AI Can Revolutionize Aging.” Towards Data Science, Towards Data Science, 29 Oct. 2018, towardsdatascience.com/the-state-of-elderly-care-products-and-how-ai-can-revolutionize-aging-d4b098a1dacd.
GE. “The Future Role Of Robot Caregivers.” GE Reports, General Electric, 12 Oct. 2017, www.ge.com/reports/post/94619189589/a-robotic-companion-for-the-elderly.
Mann, Sarah. “Research Shows Shortage of More than 100,000 Doctors by 2030.” AAMCNews, 14 Mar. 2017, news.aamc.org/medical-education/article/new-aamc-research-reaffirms-looming-physician-shor/.
Nuovo, Alessandro Di, and Computational Intelligence. “Robot Carers Could Help Lonely Seniors – They’re Cheering Humans up Already.” The Conversation, 8 Apr. 2019, theconversation.com/robot-carers-could-help-lonely-seniors-theyre-cheering-humans-up-already-106181.