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Why Robots Are the Future of Elder Care

Stashed in: #TED, Robots!, Best PandaWhale Posts, Japan, Awesome, Singularity!, Bots, Aging, Aging, Robot Jobs

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Japan will be 40% elderly by 2060. FORTY PERCENT. Their life expectancy is the highest in the world, with the average man living to 81 and the average woman to a mind-boggling 87 years old. And remember that for many years their quasi-mandatory retirement age was 55 or 60, while many older women did not work outside the home after marriage -- so basically 40% of the population will live at least half their adult lives without working outside the home. This is what a demographic disaster looks like. And into this breach they are leading the way with... robot baby seals.

The AVERAGE Japanese woman lives 87 years?! That's mind boggling.

Yeah, we need the robots to take care of our old selves. There aren't enough young people to do so.

Wow, that's interesting that you posted that yesterday - the same day that KQED broadcast the TED Radio hour with Sherry Turkle who talked about "Why we need humans" - where she talks about the robotic seal.

More from Sherry Turkle and how technology is changing our humanness. 

sherry turkle alone together

About Sherry Turkle's TEDTalk

As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle looks at how devices and online personas are redefining human connection. She says we need to really think about the kinds of connections we want to have.

sherry turkle alone together

From 2012:

I see her point -- humans NEED humans.

Even if we have technology to caretake for us we will need other people around for relationships.

Thank you for posting this! A friend runs a hospice agency, and we've been talking often over the last year about the fact that a. there will definitely not be enough human caretakers to address the aging of the US, and b. even if there were enough human caretakers, there will not be enough money to pay for them (long-term care falls under Medicaid, which, as a state-based program, is likely to bankrupt states before we even get to the biggest number of baby-boomers needing at home or nursing care). I suggested running a nationwide staffing/training program, to start spreading out risk across the country, but she thinks that's foolish (and it probably is). Instead, we keep coming back to the very real need for robotics to address this upcoming chasm - primarily to support the physical care people will require (which is why new products like Robear, Encore Smart, and HALs are going to be so important).

Anyway, there's a lot of money to be made in figuring out how to provide physical care to the elderly, and in figuring out how to pay for it.

Yes, there's a lot of money to be made. 

There are also regular reminders that elderly people DO need help:

Having robots to do some of the basic things does not stop the need for humans. 

Increasingly, old people are taking care of other old people. We're gonna be seeing a lot of 75 year olds taking care of 95 year olds:

They're the ones who will benefit the most from robots that can help with the heavy lifting.

75 year olds taking care of 95 year olds is like 15 year olds taking care of 5 year olds for an evening.

It works. 

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