Every day, 10,000 Americans turn 65. Surprisingly, a number of other countries already have populations significantly older than the United States; including Italy, Germany and Japan, which has a median age of 45 (compared to the U.S. median age of 37). While Japan’s residents live longer, they are also having fewer babies and welcoming in fewer immigrants – which is an additional source of young families. How is Japan reacting to the population shift? Very creatively.
Technological leaders in Japan are developing robots to aid the nation’s seniors. While many countries turn to technology in an effort to promote aging in place at home – such as homecare systems and homecare software – Japan’s industrialists have taken this field to the next level.
Elder Care Robots
With its fast-growing elderly population, Japan has created innovative mechanized assistance to not only fill the country’s manpower gaps, but also to provide assistance to seniors. Although other countries (including the U.S.) have embraced this type of technology, Japan remains the trailblazer. In 2005, Japanese factories were using more than 370,000 robots, according to the Associated Press, which is three times as many as were active in the United States.
The Japanese governments have combined their resources with vast subsidies to encourage the development of “service robots” that could help feed, dress, and otherwise care for senior citizens. Prototypes include a bed that converts into a wheelchair by voice command, as well as a robot that can wash the hair of the elderly.
These technologies can support the role of caregivers in helping seniors age independently. What do you think of Japan’s use of robots to augment senior care? Drop us a note and join the discussion!
by Geoffrey Nudd, CEO of ClearCare