A few years ago I was asked to participate in a high tech study. I was flown to Minnesota and then to Los Angeles in order to experience and observe Caregiver Robots! Can you believe it?
As a Hospice and Home Health executive for 20 years, I was asked to bring a perspective to the table about what seniors may need that a caregiver robot may be able to also provide.
While this all felt slightly like peeking into the apocalypse, I kept an open mind. After all, just think of all the driving time our caregivers could avoid! If you’re not picking up on my sarcasm yet, stay tuned, there’s more.
The benefits began to be laid out in front of me emphasizing the greater good that caregiving robots could serve. 24-Hour Monitoring. Live-Video streaming. Entertainment on demand. Online crossword puzzles. Access to History channel applications and Turner Classic movies for a nominal extra fee.
The robot was actually more like an ipad. It had a neck which was on a swivel and once the senior it was monitoring fell down, it would broadcast their image to emergency personnel, and alert family members or the fire department. Of course there would need to be someone somewhere monitoring hundreds of seniors from some control room somewhere, or motion detection to indicate that the senior had moved and possibly fallen.
As an employer over the years to hundreds of phenomenal caregivers over the years, my heart sunk a little for the heroic caregivers I was representing. And then it dawned on me. THIS WILL NEVER WORK.
If this will be ‘good enough’ for your senior loved one, we don’t want to serve you anyway. While I am all for integration of measures that increase safety while creating a ‘feel good solution’ for detached family members, I can’t stand behind something that would attempt to replace the CRITICAL work that caregivers do daily. What do you remember about your childhood? The smells, the hugs, the smiles? The feeling? Could robots have fulfilled these critical elements? No. They couldn’t. And ROBOTS can’t replace the critical hands on work that our amazing team at Always There Home Care is doing every day.