Seniors are accepting of robotic assistance, survey shows

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Seniors are generally receptive to the idea of caregiving robots, though they prefer assistance from humans for certain tasks, a new survey finds.

To determine the degree to which elderly adults would be accepting of robotic assistance for activities of daily living, investigators screened a video about robots' capabilities, and then administered a survey. Survey respondents ranged in age between 65 and 93.

Seniors said in the survey that they'd be receptive to accepting a robot's assistance with activities such as chores, housekeeping and laundry, with reminders to take medication and other health-related tasks. However, they preferred a human's touch for tasks such as bathing, grooming, making phone calls and other social tasks.

"There are many misconceptions about older adults having negative attitudes toward robots,” said the Georgia Institute of Technology doctoral candidate Cory-Ann Smarr. “The older adults we interviewed were very enthusiastic and optimistic about robots in their everyday lives.”

The findings will be presented at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society's 56th Annual Meeting in Boston in October.

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