Automation as Caregiver: The role of advanced technologies in elder care
Keywords: elder care, ILSA, panel discussion
Abstract: An unprecedented boom in the elderly population will hit all industrialized and most other countries over the next 30 years. In many cases, governments, social service organizations and even individuals and families are turning to technological solutions to aid in care giving for this elderly population. While much of this technology continues to occupy traditional assistive roles such as aiding in walking, door opening, and communication, increasingly advanced technological solutions are being proposed to aid in monitoring, diagnosis, situation awareness, decision aiding and the direct automation of tasks for either the elderly themselves or for their caregivers. That is, technology is increasingly either occupying or sharing the role traditionally occupied by human caregivers. This role is understudied from a Human Factors perspective and, as with all human interactions with novel technology, failure to consider the humans’ needs, desires, capabilities and limitations will lead to unsatisfactory technological solutions at best, and disasters at worst. This panel will explore the role of automation as caregiver for the elderly. The central question will be how automation can be most appropriately integrated into a caregiving infrastructure so that it provides the best, most acceptable and most effective care from both the elders’ and the human caregivers’ (both professional and informal) perspectives.