Domestic Robots for Older Adults: Attitudes, Preferences, and Potential

Cory-Ann Smarr, Tracy L Mitzner, Jenay M Beer, Akanksha Prakash, Tiffany L Chen, Charles C Kemp, Wendy A Rogers
International Journal of Social Robotics 2014 April 1, 6 (2): 229-247
The population of older adults in America is expected to reach an unprecedented level in the near future. Some of them have difficulties with performing daily tasks and caregivers may not be able to match pace with the increasing need for assistance. Robots, especially mobile manipulators, have the potential for assisting older adults with daily tasks enabling them to live independently in their homes. However, little is known about their views of robot assistance in the home. Twenty-one independently living older Americans (65-93 years old) were asked about their preferences for and attitudes toward robot assistance via a structured group interview and questionnaires. In the group interview, they generated a diverse set of 121 tasks they would want a robot to assist them with in their homes. These data, along with their questionnaire responses, suggest that the older adults were generally open to robot assistance but were discriminating in their acceptance of assistance for different tasks. They preferred robot assistance over human assistance for tasks related to chores, manipulating objects, and information management. In contrast, they preferred human assistance to robot assistance for tasks related to personal care and leisure activities. Our study provides insights into older adults' attitudes and preferences for robot assistance with everyday living tasks in the home which may inform the design of robots that will be more likely accepted by older adults.

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